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“Air vaccines” in Brazil; Ghana first to receive Covax innoculations; Argentine health minister fired for offering VIP access to COVID vaccine.

A look at how COVID-19 is impacting life around the world

by Stranger’s Guide

Brazil

Video footage of health officials giving fake COVID-19 vaccines to elderly people went viral in Brazil. They’ve been dubbed “air vaccines” and the footage that spread on social media showed three cases in which nurses use an empty syringe to “vaccinate” elderly people. Authorities fear the practice could become more widespread, and police in Rio de Janeiro say any health official found complicit in the scandal faces up to 12 years in prison. . (AL DÍA)

Ghana

Ghana became the first nation in the world to receive the COVID-19 vaccine via the Covax initiative. Covax aims to deliver two billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide in 2021, which would make it the largest mass vaccine operation in history. A shipment of 600,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Accra, hopefully the first wave of free deliveries to low- and middle-income countries under the UN-supported effort. (AllAfrica)

Argentina

Argentine health minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia has been forced to resign after he was found offering ‘VIP’ access to the COVID-19 vaccine to friends and fellow politicians. The scandal came to light when a journalist confessed that Gonzalez Garcia had offered him a shot of the Russian Sputnik V. In an effort at transparency, the Argentine government published a list of 70 people who received preferential vaccine treatment at a hospital in Buenos Aires. The list includes former President Eduardo Duhalde and his wife. Argentina has had 2 million coronavirus infections and more than 51,000 deaths. (Merco Press)

Japan

For the first few months of its vaccine rollout, Japan will only receive limited doses. The country’s regulators have only approved the Pfizer vaccine so far, and while Pfizer is ramping up production in Europe, shots are not scheduled to arrive in Japan until May, according to the Japanese government. Minister Taro Kono said while the country wanted to begin vaccinating the elderly in April, the limited doses meant rollout would be much slower than they’d have liked.  (Reuters)

Nigeria

A survey in Lagos suggests far more Nigerians have had COVID-19 than the official numbers suggest. The study was conducted on 10,000 people across Nigeria prior to the second wave of infections in December, and indicates as many as four million people in Lagos state have been infected with coronavirus. The official figure is 153,000 cases with 1,862 deaths. (Vanguard)

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