Daily COVID Tracker: HIV patients to be prioritised, and South Africa sells AstraZeneca vaccines

Daily COVID Tracker: HIV patients to be prioritised, and South Africa sells AstraZeneca vaccines

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) says it is working to ensure that patients of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are given priority in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in the country. Here are five updates about the pandemic this Monday.

South Africa concludes sale of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

South Africa has concluded the sale of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to African Union (AU) member states.

In February, the country suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after a study found that it offered minimal protection against the South African variant of COVID-19.

At the time, South Africa had received one million AstraZeneca doses from the Serum Institute of India and the delivery of another 500,000 was pending.

After suspending the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the country started vaccinating citizens with the Johnson & Johnson jab.

According to a statement issued on Sunday, South African ministry of health said it worked to ensure that all member states identified by the AU vaccines acquisition teams as recipients of the vaccines were compliant and had obtained all regulatory approvals, permits and licences to roll out the vaccines in their respective countries.

“The minister can confirm that the full purchase amount was received by the department on Monday last week,” the statement said.

“The first batch of vaccines that is being delivered will benefit 9 member states and the balance will be collected this week to be delivered to 5 other member states.”

Lagos asks those who are not in phase one to keep off vaccination sites

The Lagos government has asked those who do not fit into phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise in the state to “keep off the vaccination sites”.

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Akin Abayomi, commissioner for health, said this on Sunday after reviewing the report of the phase one vaccination rollout campaign.

Those categorised under phase one are healthcare workers, COVID-19 response team (RRT), ports of entry staff (air, land, and seaports), laboratory network, judiciary, military, police and other security agencies, petrol station workers, teachers, the press and other frontline workers.

“We understand that there is a great demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in Lagos, leading to an increase in activities at our various vaccination sites; this has brought to fore the need to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, as well as accountability and security for officials, citizens and the cold chain mechanism at the sites,” he said.

“We want to avoid crowding and the resultant spread of the COVID-19 infection at the vaccination sites; this is why we are appealing to persons who are not categorised in phase one of the vaccination exercise to keep off the vaccination sites.”

Pakistan prime minister tests positive for COVID-19

Imran Khan, Pakistan prime minister, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday — two days after receiving his first dose of vaccine.

The 68-year-old received a shot of the China Sinopharm vaccine on Thursday — one of over a million doses donated to Pakistan by Beijing.

Pakistan’s vaccination roll-out reportedly met with widespread vaccine hesitancy, and Khan’s positive test could be a setback to the country’s vaccination drive.

“At this point, the prime minister’s office can only confirm that the honourable prime minister has tested positive for Covid-19 and has self-isolated,” Khan office said.

As of the time of filing this report, data from John Hopkins University showed that the country has reported 626,802 COVID-19 infections with 13,843 deaths.

Mumbai to roll out compulsory testing in crowded places

Mumbai, a city in India, says it will roll out mandatory coronavirus tests in crowded places.

The rapid tests will be mandatory in crowded places such as shopping centres and train stations from 22 March, as the country grapples with a rise in infections.

According to Indian Today, Suresh Kakani, municipal commissioner, said infections were rising sharply, hence the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has taken the decision.

“From March 22, it will be mandatory for all malls to have the swab collection facility. A team will be designated at the entrance for this very purpose. The details are being worked out,” Kakani said.

He added that “so either the people show their negative report before entering a mall or be ready for the swab test”.

NACA to ensure HIV/AIDS patients get COVID-19 vaccines

NACA says it is will to ensure that HIV patients are given priority in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

Gambo Aliyu, director-general of NACA, said this on Sunday while briefing reporters at an empowerment programme organised by the agency in Gumel LGA of Jigawa State.

Aliyu said the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and will boost the immune system of HIV patients.

“The Astra-Zeneca vaccine is safe for everyone, including those with HIV-AIDs, and we are collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, to ensure that victims of HIV are prioritised in the vaccination across the country,” he said.

COVID-19 IN NIGERIA