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Spain reports 1st case of Zika-related microcephaly

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Health authorities in Catalonia, northeast Spain, have reported the country’s first known case of the microcephaly birth defect in the fetus of a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus, AFP reported.

A total of 105 people in Spain have been infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, according to official statistics as of May 3. Authorities say all the infection cases – including 13 pregnant women – were “imported cases” found in people either “from, or who have visited affected countries” in Latin America.

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Vaccination: 58 pc covered on day 1 in Pune, 71 refuse

Dr Murlidhar Tambe, Superintendent, Sassoon General Hospital, one of the 31 vaccine centres in Pune, wasamong the first beneficiaries.

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Pune, Jan 16 : Pune district health authorities managed to vaccinate 58 per cent of registered beneficiaries on Saturday, the first day of the COVID-19 inoculation drive, with nine of them showing “minor side effects”, and 71 refusing to turn up, an official said.

The drive kicked off at 31 sites in the district, eight each in Pune municipal and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations and 15 in Pune rural, and the target was to vaccinate 3,100 registered health care workers, he said.

“A total of 1,802 out of 3,100, or around 58 per cent, were vaccinated. Barring nine incidents of minor side effects, no major adverse side effect was reported in the district, Of the 1,288 who did not turn up, 71 refused,” said an official from the district administration.

Dr Nitin Abhyankar, among the first to get vaccinated in Kamla Nehru Hospital in Pune city, said he was proud of being part of this fight against the pandemic.

Dr Nitin Satav, a physician from a city hospital, said everyone should come forward to take the vaccine, while Dr Kiran Mahankale, who contracted COVID-19 in September and recovered, said health care workers must take the shots as it would protect them while treating patients.

Dr Murlidhar Tambe, Superintendent, Sassoon General Hospital, one of the 31 vaccine centres in Pune, wasamong the first beneficiaries.

“Till 1 pm, 37 beneficiaries, including doctors, have been given Covishield at Sassoon,” he said.

Rajesh Karyakarte, head, Department of Microbiologyat B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, who tooreceived the jab, said vaccination is the only solution todevelop “herd immunity”.

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COVID vaccination drive: What people said

— Congress leader Manish Tewari: It’s all a bit puzzling India has no policy framework for authorising emergency use. Yet, two vaccines have been approved for restricted use in emergency situation. COVAXIN is another story — Approvals sans Due Process

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New Delhi, Jan 16 : As India launched the world’s largest vaccination drive against the coronavirus pandemic, showing the light at the end of a 10-month tunnel that upended millions of lives, here are some of the quotes from people who took the jab and politicians:

— Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan: These vaccines are ‘sanjivani’ in our fight against this pandemic. We have won the battles against polio and small pox. Now, we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against coronavirus

— Manish Kumar from Delhi: Many of them (staff) were scared. So, I went to my seniors and said I should be given the vaccine first. I wanted to prove to my colleagues that there is no need to be scared

— Bipasha Seth from West Bengal: It’s a great day for humankind. I feel elated to get the first dose

— Tamil Nadu Govt Doctors Association president K Senthil: We saw agony, pain and many deaths due to coronavirus. We have been waiting for the vaccine for the past 10 months and it arrived sooner than we expected. For me, this is both an opportunity and a luck to get the vaccine

— Telangana health worker K Jayamma: I had no fear of taking the vaccine. I wanted to take the vaccine first to allay apprehensions if any about the vaccination.

— Kochi surgeon Jose Chacko Periyappuram: This vaccination will definitely help boost our immunity. This message should be conveyed to society

— Gwalior sanitation worker Raghuvir Balmiki: Remove all kinds of illusions from your mind and trust Indian scientists. This vaccine is completely safe

— Abdul Qayoom, security guard at Era Medical College in Uttar Pradesh: There was always fear in mind because of close proximity to coronavirus patients. But now I am feeling much safer

— Delhi nurse Biji Tomy: It’s our moment of reckoning, I guess, which is very humbling

— Delhi nursing staff Vinish Kumar: My blood pressure went down for a while. They put me under observation for one hour. Now I am feeling normal and everything is fine

— Gujarat paediatrician Naveen Thacker: As you can see, I have not felt any adverse effect even an hour after getting inoculated…. This is the beginning of a final war

— Farah Husain, an anaesthesia specialist and one of incharges of COVID ICU ward in Delhi hospital: Pride is quite natural, and tremendous happiness, after all the hardships and deaths we have seen last year

— SMS Medical College principal Sudhir Bhandari in Jaipur: There’s a sense of happiness, excitement and well-being

— Naveen Kumar from LNJP Hospital’s administration department in Delhi: We owe our lives to these doctors and nurses, they are the true corona warriors, and we salute them

— J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to COVID warriors: When pre and post pandemic history will be written, your contribution will be written in golden words.

— West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim: We were in a state of depression for the last one year. From today, we will again relive our lives.

— Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami: Everyone should for sure get vaccinated. You and I have to get vaccinated. Those from your and my family too should get the vaccinated

— Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray: It is a revolutionary step we are taking today. I salute the corona warriors who selflessly treated the COVID-19 patients when there was no remedy available

— Congress leader Manish Tewari: It’s all a bit puzzling India has no policy framework for authorising emergency use. Yet, two vaccines have been approved for restricted use in emergency situation. COVAXIN is another story — Approvals sans Due Process

— SP leader Akhilesh Yadav: We have full faith in our doctors but not in the government; It’s good that coronavirus vaccine has come out, but only believe what the doctors say, not UP CM Yogi Adityanath

— Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar: The prime minister and Maharashtra CM should take the COVID-19 vaccine first and clear all doubts in the minds of the people

— Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla: It brings me great pride that Covishield is part of this historic effort and to endorse it’s safety and efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself

— M K Sudarshan, chairperson of Karnataka government’s COVID-19 technical advisory committee: Benefit of vaccination clearly outweighs the risk of disease

— NITI Aayog member V K Paul: I have taken Covaxin. Embrace the vaccine

— Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja: The pandemic is not going to end after this vaccine. We still need to make sure that we follow the health protocol

— Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat: The antibodies begin to form two weeks after the second dose, which is administered on the 28th day after the first. -PTI

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Doctors at Delhi’s RML Hospital reject Covaxin, say we want Covishield with valid trial results

Doctors of Delhi’s premier RML Hospital have shot a letter to the hospital superintendent saying they do not want to take the Bharat Biotech vaccine – Covaxin – and would instead prefer the Covishield vaccine of Serum Institute of India.

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Resident doctors at New Delhi’s Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital have written to the Medical Superintendent asking for them to be vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Covishield vaccine instead of Covaxin.

In the letter dated January 16, the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) said its present members are a “bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial in case of Covaxin.” The doctors said that Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech was being preferred at the hospital’s vaccination site over Covishield produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). Covaxin is still undergoing phase-3 trials.

The association further claimed that due to this apprehension, resident doctors “might not participate in huge numbers, thus defeating the purpose of vaccination.”

“We request you to vaccinate us with Covishield which has completed all stages of the trail before its rollout,” the letter reads.

India began its massive COVID-19 vaccination exercise on January 16. Priority is being given to healthcare and frontline workers, who had already been registered on the purpose-built CoWIN application.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved both vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – for restricted emergency use. However, beneficiaries will not be able to choose between the two jabs.

While launching the vaccination drive on January 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked the people to be aware of propaganda and rumours about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for public use in India.

“Our Indian scientists and experts have guaranteed the safety of the vaccine, so the people of the country must not listen to any kind of propaganda and rumours surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine,” PM Modi said.

As of January 16, India had reported more than 1.05 crore confirmed COVID-19 cases. The death toll from the outbreak in the country stood at over 1.52 lakh. While more than 1.01 crore patients had recovered, 2.11 lakh cases remained ‘active’. Globally, more than 9.32 crore individuals have been infected by the virus and over 20 lakh people have died so far.

A speedy rollout of vaccines is being seen as the best way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and restore normalcy in the pandemic-battered global economy. More than 50 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already vaccinated a large number of people from high-risk groups.

The Centre is hoping to vaccinate 30 crore people by July, in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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