In the latest developments, eight countries in the World have begun or granted approval for vaccinating their people against the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier in November 18, Pfizer/BioNTech became the first in the world to release full late-stage trial data. 

Britain was the first to approve the shot for emergency use on December 3, followed by Canada on December 9 and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11. Moderna became second in the vaccine race after it released a full data analysis for a late-stage trial on November 30, showing a 94.1 per cent efficacy rate for its vaccine.

As the coronavirus cases surge across the world, we bring you a timeline as to which country has approved which vaccine and much more, as per The Indian Express report.

Switzerland

Switzerland on Saturday became the latest country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use. “After a meticulous review of the available information, Swissmedic concluded that the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech is safe and that its benefit outweighs the risks,” the Swissmedic regulatory authority said in a statement.

According to AFP, the alpine nation has secured around 15.8 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, in deals with three separate manufacturers. It has signed contracts for around three million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, around 7.5 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, and around 5.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. All three vaccines require two doses per person.

United States

The United States Friday added a second Covid-19 vaccine to its arsenal after FDA authorised an emergency rollout of the vaccine developed by Moderna Inc and the National Institutes of Health.

Compared to Pfizer, the vaccine produced by Moderna’s is easier to handle since it does not need to be stored at ultra-freezing temperatures. The vaccine can be stored for up to six months at -20 degrees Celsius, though it is expected to be stable for 30 days at normal fridge temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit). 

The United States so far has been the worst-affected country by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 3,12,000 lives lost there. New cases in the US are running at over 216,000 per day on average. 

Malaysia

Malaysia on Saturday said it expects to receive the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in February, news agency Reuters reported.

In November, Malaysia had announced that it had agreed to buy 12.8 million doses of the vaccine, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to strike a deal with the US drugmaker. Under the deal, Pfizer will deliver the first one million doses in the first quarter of 2021, with 1.7 million, 5.8 million and 4.3 million doses to follow in subsequent quarters.

The Malaysian government also said that they are in talks with other pharmaceutical companies to secure more vaccines.

Britain

On December 8, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to administer Covid-19 vaccine to its public. The first recipient of the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BionTech was 90-year-old Margaret Keenan. She received the shot at University Hospital Coventry.

According to BBC, it was the first of 800,000 doses of the vaccine that will be dispensed in the coming weeks. In England, the vaccine will be delivered at 50 hospital hubs in the first wave of the programme, with more hospitals expected to offer it as the rollout ramps up.

The country has placed orders for nearly 40 million doses, enough for 20 million people, as two courses are needed. However, most supplies are not expected to become available until next year.

Another vaccine being developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca in the UK has also been found to be “safe and effective” and is being currently assessed by independent scientists.

Bahrain

Bahrain on December 4 became the second nation in the world to grant an emergency-use authorisation for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech. The country has offered citizens the option to pre-register to receive the vaccine on its website.

Canada

Canada administered its first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine on December 14. Five front-line workers in Ontario were among the first Canadians to receive the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine at one of Toronto’s hospitals.

The Canadian government had recently amended its contract with Pfizer and BioNTech so that it would deliver up to 249,000 doses in December itself. As per AP, more of Canada’s initial 30,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to cross the border by Monday.

The country has contracts with six other vaccine makers and is currently reviewing three other vaccines, including one by Moderna that Canadian health officials said could be approved soon.

Mexico

Mexico became the fourth country to approve emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, following authorisation from health regulator Cofepris on Friday. The Mexican government has inked an agreement with Pfizer to acquire 34.4 million doses of its vaccine, with the first batch expected to arrive this month.

Russia 

While Pfizer’s shot was the first to be rolled out following the publication of full Phase III trial data, Russia and China have been inoculating their citizens for months with several different vaccines still undergoing late-stage trials.

On November 24, Russia said that its Sputnik V vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Institute, was 91.4 per cent effective based on interim late-stage trial results. It started vaccinations in August and has inoculated more than 100,000 people so far.

China

China on December 18 announced its plan to vaccinate 50 million people in the high-priority group against the coronavirus before the start of the peak Lunar New Year travel season early next year.

The country has so far granted emergency-use status to two candidate vaccines from Sinopharm and one from Sinovac Biotech. It has also approved a fourth, from CanSino Biologics Inc, for military use.

According to a report published in the South China Morning Post, Chinese officials have been asked to complete the first 50 million doses by January 15 and the second by February 5. 

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