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WHO insists Covid-19 vaccine is relevant but further efforts are needed

WHO INSISTS COVID-19 VACCINE IS RELEVANT BUT FURTHER EFFORTS ARE NEEDEDVaccines are a relevant tool in the fight against covid-19 and allow us to envision the end of the pandemic, but all other efforts are still necessary, the World Health Organization defended today. (WHO).

WHO experts urged countries not to let their guard down with the optimism generated by the expectation of the vaccines' arrival, and one of them, Mike Ryan, asked "people to continue to make efforts".

"Vaccination will be an important and powerful tool in the toolkit we have available. But, by itself, it will not do the job," he warned.

With the arrival of vaccines, "we are beginning to see an end to the pandemic," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday, while warning that the virus continues to put enormous pressure on hospitals.

The call of experts to not let their guard down in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic occurs when the situation is getting worse in some countries, mainly in the United States, and despite the optimism generated by the vaccines.

The United States faces a new outbreak of covid-19, with 225,000 new cases and 2,500 deaths recorded in 24 hours on Friday, days after many Americans traveled in late November for the Thanksgiving holiday.

For its part, neighboring Canada crossed the threshold of 400,000 cases on Friday, just over two weeks after reaching 300,000, marking a sharp acceleration of the pandemic.

In the face of danger, President-elect Joe Biden expects the inauguration ceremony in January to be largely online, to follow "experts' recommendations."

"So it is highly unlikely that we will have a million people at the Mall," the grand avenue in downtown Washington, warned the 77-year-old Democrat.

In the United Kingdom, health officials consider it "likely" that there will be a significant regression of the pandemic, "in the spring", due to vaccination. But, they are preparing for a possible aggravation after Christmas.

The UK, which has the highest number of deaths in Europe since the start of the pandemic (more than 60,000), this week became the first western country to authorize a vaccine against covid-19, giving the green light to that of Pfizer and from BioNTech. The first doses should be administered next week.

That country was accompanied on Friday by Bahrain, the second country in the world to grant this authorization.

The covid-19 pandemic has infected more than 65 million people and caused more than 1.5 million deaths worldwide.

The pandemic is advancing mainly in Italy, with Latin America and the Caribbean registering an 18% increase in cases in one week.

In total, there are 51 vaccine candidates that are being tested in humans, 13 of which are in the final testing phase, according to the WHO.

Belgium, France and Spain plan to launch vaccination campaigns in January, focusing on the most vulnerable.

With the imminent arrival of these anti-covid vaccines, some of which need to be stored in freezing temperatures, American companies set the stage: American logistics giant UPS has developed portable freezers that allow the vaccine to be stored between -20 and -80 degrees centigrade.

The automaker Ford has ordered its own freezers to offer vaccines to its employees, while American meat giant Smithfield is ready to supply the cold rooms of its refrigerators.

It remains to convince the population in a context of distrust in the face of inoculation of vaccines conceived in record time.

Several personalities have pledged to be vaccinated in public to set an example, such as Joe Biden and former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Pending the arrival of these vaccines, Christmas and New Year gatherings are expected to accelerate the spread of the pandemic.

In Brazil, shopping centers in Rio de Janeiro are allowed to operate 24 hours a day, in an attempt to avoid the crowds for Christmas shopping. The country recorded almost 700 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the death toll to almost 176,000.

In the United States, job creation slowed sharply in November, confirming the slowdown in growth and increasing pressure on Congress to vote on a new support plan as many aids for the unemployed and families expire on December 26.

Argentina has instituted a tax on large fortunes, which affects about 12,000 people, to help the poor and small businesses.

JDN // EA - Lusa

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