Doubts about the effectiveness of AstraZeneca’s vaccine against the South African variant

7:37 a.m.: New guidelines against the South African and Brazilian variants are urgently issued

The Directorate-General for Health issued an emergency notice on Sunday advising health professionals to step up surveillance of Brazilian and South African variants in France “whose prevalence is currently in a minority but which run the risk of” immune and vaccine escape “hides.. Click this link for full details in our article.

7:08 am: Two people in custody after a secret party in Sarrebourg

About fifty people took part in a secret party on Saturday night that was organized in a house on the side of Sarrebourg on the Moselle, reports Le Républicain Lorrain.

About 25 night owls were fined for attending a meeting prohibited in connection with the health crisis. Two people were arrested, including the evening’s organizer, 25 years old and, according to the latest news from Alsace, residing in the Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin) region.

7:02 a.m.: Afghanistan receives vaccines from India

Afghanistan received half a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by India on Sunday. This was the first delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine to reach this country, which was badly hit by the epidemic in 2020.

“We have received 500,000 vaccine doses for patients with Covid-19 sent by the Indian government,” said Afghan interim health minister Wahid Majrooh at Kabul airport where he received the delivery.

6:55 am: Green light for Sputnik V in Hungary

Hungary on Sunday removed the final barrier to administering the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine to the population and national health authorities gave the go-ahead.

6:48 a.m.: First case of a Brazilian variant discovered in Canada

A first case of infection with the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus was found in Toronto, health officials in Canada’s largest city said on Sunday.

6:43 a.m.: South Africa suspends its vaccination program

South Africa announced on Sunday that it would temporarily suspend its Covid-19 vaccination program, which should begin with a million vaccines developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca in the coming days, after the study found “limited” effectiveness against the South African variant.

6:30 a.m .: WHO is reviewing the AstraZeneca vaccine

World Health Organization experts are investigating AstraZeneca and Oxford’s anti-Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, at a time when its effectiveness for the elderly and against the South African variant of the virus is being questioned.

According to the initial results of this study, this vaccine is only 22% effective against moderate forms of the South African variant.

6:13 am: The vaccination campaign in France is accelerating

The vaccination campaign is accelerating and benefited on Saturday from the reinforcement of the brand new AstraZeneca vaccine, which is easier to transport and store, but whose use is restricted to those under 65 and priority for caregivers under 65. Since a little more than 1.8 million people received at least one initial vaccination dose on Friday, specialists do not yet expect vaccinations to contain the epidemic quickly.

Health Minister Olivier Veran will attend injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 65 in Melun.

Separately, a South African study claims that this vaccine “provides limited protection against moderate forms of the disease caused by the South African variant in young adults. It” may not reduce the total number of cases, but still protect against death, hospitalization and death severe cases forms of disease, “said Oxford University researcher Sarah Gilbert.

From this Monday, no more homemade masks in the school

From Monday, the students have to wear surgical masks, FFP2, FFP3 or industrial material “UNS1”. Handmade masks are now banned in schools to bolster health protocol with the introduction of new variants. More information in our article.

6:10 am: Loosening of the measures in some European countries

The restrictive measures are gradually easing: Romania and Denmark are reopening schools, as is the Netherlands, which are also reopening day-care centers. Also Austria and the reopening of museums and shops.

Canada is reopening museums and non-essential businesses.

6:06 am: Clusters in companies: The challenge of collective catering

For employees who did not telework, lunch breaks in the Covid-19 era are often available in company canteens under strict health protocols. It foresees various restrictive provisions to avoid contamination: traffic plans, staggered chairs, hydroalcoholic gel … the last update at the end of January introduces a difficulty with a 2m distance between two people when the mask cannot be worn, compared to 1 m previously.

The health problem is real. At the end of January, the Director General for Labor (DGT) Pierre Ramain mentioned “3,900 clusters examined since the beginning of the health crisis” in companies and listed collective catering among the types of contamination with social events on the edge of work (such as pots) or car pools.

> Read our article here.

What to remember from Sunday

The February holidays should lead to “less population movements” than the Christmas holidays, said Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari. France has registered 19,715 new positive cases in the past 24 hours (up from 20,586 on Saturday) and 171 more people died from the disease.
Arnaud Fontanet, member of the Scientific Council, explains in an interview with the JDD the places of contamination that were identified in the 3rd ComCor study for the Pasteur Institute. This study confirms the conclusions of the first two. “The broadcast happens a lot with family or friends,” he notes.
Infectious disease specialist Eric Caumes called for the reopening of cultural and sports venues on behalf of the mental health of the French.
The repayment of the Covid-19 debt is “unthinkable” and would be “a violation of the European treaty, which strictly forbids the financial financing of states”, as the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, underlined in the JDD.
Hair salons reopened, customers returned to some shops and trips that can stretch for more than a kilometer: Israel has begun to emerge from its third lockdown as part of an intensive vaccination campaign.

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