The U.S. recorded more than 95,5-hundred Covid-related deaths in January, the worst monthly total since the pandemic began, though fatalities this month are expected to be lower.
A major snowstorm forced New York City to halt vaccinations for two days.
BUT, in a milestone, more Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine than have tested positive for the virus, an early but hopeful milestone in the race to end the pandemic.

Over in Europe, Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to offer all Germans a vaccine by the end of September, even if new shots aren’t approved.
And, here in South Korea, the government announced that vaccinations will begin this month with Pfizer vaccine with the first group to be inoculated frontline healthcare workers battling Covid-19.

Let’s talk about it.

Joining us live in the studio is Dr. Anh Wartel, Associate Director General of EPIC at the International Vaccinate Institute.

Dr. Wartel, thanks for joining us. It’s great to have you on News In-depth.

Frontline workers and those in high-risk groups are prioritized ahead of the public in the nation’s inoculations plans. What are some logistical complications or confusions in other countries that South Korea can learn from and adapt a more efficient vaccine campaign?

There has been rising concern recently over the efficacy of the AstraZenea vaccine on those 65 and older.
This is an issue that had been raised before as their phase 3 trials included insufficient people over 55.
While the European Medicines Agency has authorized the vaccine, countries like Germany and France have their doubts.
What should we take away from this? How will it affect those 65 and older in South Korea?

The U.S. is preparing for a third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved – Johnson and Johnson.
This vaccine showed to be 85-percent efficacy overall at preventing hospitalization and death in all regions where it was tested, yet in preventing moderate and severe disease only 66-percent efficacy.
What’s also interesting about this vaccine was that in its phase three trial, its efficacy differed from one country to another: 72-percent in the US, 66 in Latin America and 57 in South Africa.
The U.S. FDA had initially required 50-percent efficacy where does all of this put the Johnson and Johnson vaccine?

To speed up vaccinations, Moderna is hoping to raise the number of doses in its vials to as many as 15 from the current 10 doses, a potential 50 percent increase.
That’s based on a study suggests one vaccine dose might be enough for some coronavirus survivors. Could this be an option?

In a study by a group of virologists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, researchers found Covid survivors had far higher antibody levels after both the first and second doses of the vaccine. Could this mean Covid survivors might need only one shot thereby leaving more availability to others in need?

We’ve been well aware that the currently approved and distributed vaccines were not the silver bullet fix to the coronavirus pandemic.
Even after having completed phase 3 clinical trials, such a vaccination plan at a global scale is in itself one big clinical trial.
We’ve seen adverse allergic reactions, but we’re also seeing that some people that have been inoculated still test positive for the virus.
Notably in the U.S., three members of Congress.
What does it mean that these vaccines don’t work instantly, nor that they work retroactively?

These vaccines have been authorized based on how well they prevent illness – getting sick, needing an ICU, or dying
At the beginning of vaccine authorizations the unanswered questions was immunity period.
But now there’s the added challenge of virus variants.
Do we know yet the efficacy of current vaccines on the mutant strains?

We’re clearly coming to the realization that yes, everybody in the world needs to be vaccinated.
But as complicated as the process was anticipated to be, we are seeing cases of severe inequality
Now that we’re proceeding with vaccinations around the world, where does the COVAX Facility stand?

Dr. Anh Wartel, Associate Director General of EPIC at the International Vaccine Institute, many thanks as always for your insights and expertise. We appreciate it.

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