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Daily COVID Tracker: VSF donates facilities to Osun schools and the UK to expose volunteers to virus

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Antonio Guterres, United Nations (UN) secretary-general, has asked “rich countries” to ensure that everybody in the world receives the COVID-19 vaccine within the shortest time possible. Here are five updates on the pandemic this Thursday. 

Company introduces online COVID-19 vaccine scheduling tool

A US-based company has introduced an online booking system to facilitate scheduling of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kroger Health, on Wednesday, announced its new COVID-19 vaccine scheduling tool to book vaccine appointments online.

The company said the new tool can manage more than 250,000 appointment requests on a daily basis and will reflect the number of vaccine doses confirmed within Kroger’s system.

According to the company, customers will be able to book both their first and second dose appointments at the same time, adding that the website will also let customers check their vaccine eligibility.

“As more vaccines become available nationwide, our pharmacies and clinics will be ready and able to administer thousands of doses to our communities every day,” Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, said.

Our new online scheduling tool and improved call centre experience will allow us to easily scale to meet demand once more vaccine doses are available to Kroger Health.”

Danjuma-led VSF donates WASH facilities to schools in Osun

The Theophilus Danjuma-led Victims Support Fund (VSF) taskforce on COVID-19 on Wednesday donated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities to three secondary schools in Osun state.

The facilities handed over to each of the schools include 4,000 solar-powered borehole, four hand-wash stations, 2,000 pieces of reusable facemasks, five pieces of four-litre hand sanitisers, 120 bottles of 500ml liquid hand wash and five cartoons of bleach.

The three schools that benefited from the gesture are Okoyekola High School, Ijabe; Ansarudeen Grammar School, Iloro, Ile-Ife, and Baptist High School, Ikire.

Toyosi-Akerele Ogunsuji, chairperson of the taskforce, said the donation is an intervention aimed at minimising the spread of COVID-19.

She added that the initiative is part of an ongoing COVID-19 intervention by the organisation.

UN secretary-general makes case for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines 

As the world battles the second wave of the pandemic, Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, has warned against “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Guterres called on the international community to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe.

Speaking at a virtual UN security council meeting on Wednesday, Guterres said the world can defeat the COVID-19 pandemic if all nations work together to ensure “sufficient supply, fair distribution and vaccine confidence”.

“Just 10 countries have administered 75% of all Covid-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, more than 130 countries have not received a single dose. The world urgently needs a Global Vaccination Plan to bring together all those with the required power, scientific expertise and production, and financial capacities,” he said.

If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the Global South, it will mutate again and again. New variants could become more transmissible, more deadly, and, potentially, threaten the effectiveness of current vaccines and diagnostics. This can prolong the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the Global North.”

South Africa begins COVID-19 vaccinations

South Africa has commenced COVID-19 vaccinations following the suspension of an earlier plan to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The country is using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is administered as a single dose.

South Africa received 80,000 doses of the vaccine, which has been shown to be effective against the variant identified in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa received his shot on Wednesday to fight hesitancy among the population about taking the vaccine.“Taking the vaccine was quick, easy and not so painful. I urge all our healthcare workers to register to receive their vaccinations as they are our first line of defence against the coronavirus pandemic,” he tweeted.UK to deliberately infect volunteers with COVID-19

The United Kingdom is set to become the first country in the world to deliberately expose volunteers to COVID-19.

Healthy, young volunteers will be exposed to COVID-19 to test vaccines and treatments in the world’s first COVID-19 “human challenge”.

Human challenge studies are said to have played a vital role in pushing the development of treatments for a number of diseases, including malaria, typhoid, cholera and flu.

The trials will help scientists work out the smallest amount of COVID-19 needed to cause infection, and how the body’s immune system reacts to it.

This will give doctors a better understanding of COVID-19 which will help in the development of vaccines and treatments.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said on Wednesday that up to 90 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 30 will be exposed to the virus in a “safe and controlled environment” during the trial, which is expected to begin within weeks.

COVID-19 IN NIGERIA

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