UK starts mass COVID vaccination programme today – Newstrends
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UK starts mass COVID vaccination programme today

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Britain on Tuesday recorded a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as it began the biggest vaccination programme in the country’s history with a new COVID-19 jab.

The first patients in line on what has been dubbed “V-Day” — the over-80s, care home workers and at-risk frontline health and social care staff — will roll up their sleeves for an initial dose from early morning.

They will then require a second jab in 21 days’ time.

Last week Britain became the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, raising hopes of a breakthrough in the pandemic, which has killed more than 1.5 million worldwide.

Britain has been one of the worst-affected countries in the world, with more than 61,000 deaths in the outbreak from 1.6 million cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent days in intensive care with Covid-19 earlier this year, called it a “huge step forward in the UK’s fight against coronavirus”.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has offered to have the jab on live television to allay public fears, said the roll-out was a “key moment” that would protect the most vulnerable.

The head of the state-run National Health Service in England, Simon Stevens, said it was a “decisive turning point” against the “greatest health challenge” since the NHS was founded in 1948.

Regulatory approval for the vaccine was given last Wednesday, sparking a race against time to prepare scores of vaccination centres across the country.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the jab — enough to vaccinate 20 million people — with 800,000 in the first batch.

Up to four million doses are expected by the end of December.

Queen could lead way

The mass vaccination drive is a coordinated response by all four nations of the UK — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — which normally set their own health policies.

The public has been largely favourable to the rapid approval of the vaccine, but ministers and health professionals are aware they still need to combat mistrust.

 

The independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency maintains that no corners were cut and its assessment and approval procedures met stringent international norms.

NHS England said thousands had already been given the jab during trials with no serious side effects.

Nevertheless, it has been reported Queen Elizabeth II, who at 94 is among those first in the line for the vaccination because of her age, could front a public awareness campaign urging compliance.

The government said it will hand out vaccine cards to remind people to get the booster after three weeks, but insisted it was not introducing immunity certificates.

The chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the vaccine will as a result only have a “marginal impact” on hospital numbers over the winter months.

Johnson called for patience and urged the public to stick to strict social distancing guidelines to prevent a spike in cases, particular as rules are relaxed over Christmas.

 

Health officials have already run into a logistical headache about how to administer the vaccine to elderly or infirm care home residents.

The vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 Fahrenheit), leaving hospitals and other medical hubs as the only places able to deal with such ultra-low temperatures.

With the Pfizer-BioNTech drug made in Belgium, concerns have also been raised about potential disruption to supply when Britain leaves the European Union’s single market and customs union.

 

But the UK government said the military is on stand-by to air-lift the vaccine if there is any border disruption from January 1.

The bulk of Britain’s vaccine requirements are expected to be met by a jab developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which is awaiting regulatory approval.

The government has ordered an initial 100 million doses of the drug, which is cheaper to manufacture, and easier to store and transport using conventional fridges.

-AFP

Health

Foreigners now visit Nigeria for plastic surgery, others – Minister

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Foreigners now visit Nigeria for plastic surgery, others – Minister

Nigeria’s healthcare is no longer in crisis, Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa, has said.

He said citizens of other countries in Asia, Europe and South America were beginning to visit Nigeria for medical treatment, especially in plastic surgery.

He spoke in an interview on Arise TV, maintaining that Nigeria now has reversed medical tourism.

“Today, we have a reversed medical tourism. We no longer have a japa syndrome in the healthcare system.

People are coming from India, South America and Europe for medical treatment in Nigeria, especially in the surgical area.”

He claimed that with improvements in the healthcare system, the country was witnessing a reversal of the ‘japa syndrome,’ suggesting that medical personnel were returning home from abroad.

According to him, the proliferation of aesthetic hospitals, numbering close to 900 across Nigeria, also contributes to attracting patients seeking services such as plastic surgery.

“Today, we have almost 900 aesthetic hospitals around Nigeria. People are coming to get plastic surgery,’’ he said.

He noted that the administration’s commitment to prioritising public health led to positive changes in the healthcare sector.

“We have a President now that believes a healthy nation is the core to harnessing our biggest asset, which is our human capital,” Alausa said.

He added that the government allocated dedicated funds and initiated collaborations to enhance primary healthcare services and expand health insurance coverage.

“The President has mandated us to increase coverage from about seven million to about 50 million people to have health insurance in the next two to three years.

“This marks the highest budget allocation for the health sector in almost 24 years,” he said.

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Measles outbreak kills 42 in northern Nigerian state

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Measles outbreak kills 42 in northern Nigerian state

The Adamawa State Government confirmed on Friday evening that 42 individuals have tragically succumbed to a measles outbreak.

Felix Tangwame, the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, disclosed this somber update, specifying that the fatalities occurred in Mubi and Gombi local government areas.

Addressing reporters following a state executive council meeting at the Government House, Yola, Tangwame detailed the extent of the outbreak. He revealed that eight wards in Mubi and seven wards in Gombi were affected by the measles outbreak, resulting in the loss of 42 lives out of 131 and 177 affected individuals, respectively, in the mentioned LGAs.

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In response to the crisis, all local government areas in the state have been placed on red alert as a precautionary measure to prevent further spread.

Tangwame emphasized the promptness of his ministry’s response upon receiving reports of the outbreak, attributing their ability to manage the situation effectively to swift action. He assured that both the government and development partners are actively engaged in addressing the situation.

Measles outbreak kills 42 in northern Nigerian state

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Nido infant milk neither registered nor sold in Nigeria – NAFDAC

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Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye

Nido infant milk neither registered nor sold in Nigeria – NAFDAC

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, on Sunday declared that the Nido infant milk formula, alleged to contain sugar or honey, was not registered and sold in Nigeria.

The director-general of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

Mr Adeyeye said the attention of NAFDAC’s Management was drawn to an online publication alleging that one of the worlds largest consumer goods company added sugar and honey to infant milk and cereal products sold in many poorer countries, contrary to international guidelines aimed at preventing obesity and chronic diseases.

It stated that the online publication of April 17, 2024 was being circulated widely to the general public.

Mr Adeyeye said the report further stated that samples of baby food products sold in Asia, Africa and Latin America were tested and results revealed that sugar and honey were added in form of sucrose in samples of Nido and Cerelac.

“The Management of NAFDAC wishes to use this medium to reassure the public that the Agency exercises due regulatory diligence in the registration of infant and young children foods distributed and used in Nigeria.

“This is in line with relevant Codex Alimentarius international food standards (Codex) and more specifically, Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS).

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“This is applicable to all categories of infant and young children foods distributed by manufacturers, importers, and marketers of infant and young children foods operating within Nigeria.

“Regarding the mention of Nido follow-up milk formula in the publication, NAFDAC wishes to state that the product is not registered in Nigeria, is not known to the Agency and is not in circulation in Nigeria,” she stated.

According to Ms Adeyeye, the range of Nestle Cerelac infant cereals distributed in Nigeria are duly registered with NAFDAC in line with the Nigerian Industrial Standard for Foods for Infants and Young Children.

“Processed Cereal Based foods (NIS 256:2010) and the Codex Standard for Processed Cereal-based Foods for Infants and Young Children (CXS 74-1981 was adopted in 1981, revised in 2006, amended in 2017, 2019, and 2023), as well as the applicable NAFDAC regulations for compliance with safety, quality, and labelling requirements.

“Adequate, optimal nutrition during infancy and early childhood is essential to ensure the growth, health, and development of children to their full potential.

“The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) implements the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, developing international food standards, guidelines, and codes of practice with the mandate to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair international food trade.

“Nigeria (NAFDAC) is an active participant at these international food standards setting arena to contribute Nigerians positions during food standards development,” it said.

According to the statement, the Agency, on March 22 held a stakeholders engagement with members of the Association of Infant Food Manufacturers and Marketers in Nigeria, AIFMN, anchored by the Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FSAN, Directorate, to further drive home the importance and special place of infant and young child nutrition.

Adeyeye reassured the public that the Agency was fully alive to her responsibilities of assuring the safety, wholesomeness and quality of infant and young children foods offered for sale in Nigeria in compliance with the relevant standards and regulations.

Nido infant milk neither registered nor sold in Nigeria – NAFDAC

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