COVID-19: Biden receives vaccine live on TV as Nigeria's FG releases new restrictions, orders closure of restaurants

EU approves first coronavirus vaccine

US President-elect @JoeBiden received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on live TV Monday, hoping it shows Americans there’s “nothing to worry about” once they get the chance to get vaccinated.

According to AFP, Biden received a Covid-19 vaccine live on televisio in a campaign to boost Americans' confidence in the jabs. The 78-year-old got the Pfizer vaccine at the Christiana Hospital in Delaware.

Biden said "there's nothing to worry about" when getting the shot. He was vaccinated in a photo-op at a hospital in Delaware on Monday afternoon, as his wife Jill looked on.

Meanwhile, in Africa, the Nigeria's federal government on Monday approved new measures to curb the further spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

According to the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, speaking at a press briefing of the task force in Abuja ordered the closure of all clubs, bars and restaurants.

Nigerian authorities also restricted number of guests at weddings , conference to 59 as new strain of Coronavirus hits the country.

“Accordingly, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has authorised the PTF to engage with the states and the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.

The measure will be for the next five weeks as Nigeria hopes to curb the spread of Coronavirus. “ All bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues should be closed.  All restaurants to be closed except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed.” Mustapha added.

Also the government ordered that gatherings linked to religious events should be less than 50% capacity of the facility.

EU approves first coronavirus vaccine

The EU has finally gave the green light for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Monday, paving the way for the first inoculations to start across 27 countries just days after Christmas. AFP reported.

According to the report, the decision was rushed through under pressure from European governments after Britain and the United States authorised the jab weeks earlier. The European Medicines Agency recommended the vaccine developed by US pharma giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech for use, and the European Commission formally approved it hours later.

The EMA added that the vaccine would "very likely" be effective against a new strain of the disease spreading through Britain.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said vaccinations would start across the EU on December 27, adding that the vaccine was a "true European success story".

"This is a very good way to end this difficult year and finally start turning the page on Covid-19," von der Leyen said in Brussels.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the decision allowed a "road out of the crisis" while Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the EMA decision "is the news we have been waiting for".

- 'Historic scientific achievement' -

The Amsterdam-based EMA, the drugs watchdog for the 27-nation EU, had moved the decision forward from December 29 under pressure from EU governments, particularly Berlin.

"It is a significant step forward in the fight against this pandemic that is causing suffering and hardship," EMA chief Emer Cooke told an online press conference as she announced the decision to recommend the vaccine.

"This is really a historic scientific achievement, within less than a year a vaccine will have been developed and authorised against this disease."

The urgency surrounding the virus has increased with the news that a fast-spreading variant is sweeping Britain, prompting a growing number of countries worldwide to suspend flights from the UK.

But EMA officials said they believed the Pfizer-BioNTech jab would be effective against it.

"At this moment there is no evidence to suggest this vaccine will not work against the new variant," Cooke said.

The EMA's head of vaccine strategy, Marco Cavaleri, added that while they were waiting for more data "for the time being we are not too worried".

"It is very likely that the vaccine will retain protection also against this new variant," he said.

"What would scare us is if we see multiple mutations", particularly on the "spike" that the virus uses to enter human cells, but those had not been seen yet, Cavaleri added.

- 'Cause for concern' -

The EMA said it took longer than Britain -- the former home of the agency -- and the US because they used a special, short-term emergency authorisation.

The "conditional marketing authorisation" issued on Monday however lasts for one year and required more rigorous testing, it said.

The EMA also had to contend with a cyberattack in which data from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines was stolen.

Cooke said the agency had "worked night and day" to speed things up, but needed to make sure the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was safe and effective, in order to avoid any doubts that could affect uptake.

"We know very well that the speed at which these vaccines were developed and authorised is a cause of concern for many Europeans," said Harald Enzmann, chairman of the EMA committee that took the final decision.

But he said the authorisation followed "one of the largest trials we have ever evaluated for a vaccine" and that it "met the standards for robustness and quality that we have set out".

The authorisation is for over-16s only and says that the vaccine should be given to pregnant women on a case by case basis, the EMA said.

Following a "small number" of reports of allergic reactions in Britain and the United States, the EMA had recommended that people should be kept under "close observation" for 15 minutes after vaccination.

A European decision on another vaccine, produced by US firm Moderna, is due by January 6.

With AFP.

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