Latest News Live Updates: India has sent COVID-19 vaccines to 20-25 countries. (File)

New Delhi:

The World Health Organization on Monday approved the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, in a boost for poorer countries where millions of doses are set to be distributed. While inoculation drives have been gaining pace, with nearly 172 million vaccine doses given worldwide, most of the jabs have so far gone to richer countries.

The AstraZeneca shot, which is easier to store and transport than some of its rivals, will account for almost all the doses set to be shipped under Covax, an international programme designed to ensure that poor countries do not miss out.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that the Centre will be in a situation to administer vaccines to those above 50 years of age in March this year. He also indicated that over 18 COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be available in the country in the coming few months. The minister said India had sent COVID-19 vaccine to 20-25 countries.

Here are the Latest News Live Updates:

World needs pandemic treaty to ensure transparency, says UK PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that world powers should clinch a global treaty on pandemics to ensure proper transparency after the novel coronavirus outbreak which originated in China. Mr Johnson said he would be keen to agree a global treaty on pandemics where countries agreed to share data, amid British and US concern over access given to a World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China.

Mr Johnson said: “I think what the world needs to see is a general agreement on how we track data surrounding zoonotic pandemics… and we want a joint agreement on transparency.”

“I think one of the attractive ideas that we have seen in the last few months has been a proposal for a global treaty on pandemics, so that signatory countries make sure that they contribute all the data they have and we are able to get to the bottom of what’s happened and stop it happening again,” he added.

Mumbai civic body staff to get 3 chances for free vaccination

Every employee of the Mumbai civic body will get three opportunities for free COVID-19 vaccination, an official release said. This decision was taken at a meeting of the “Task Force” set up to streamline COVID-19 vaccination-related issues in the civic areas, it said.

“If any employee does not go for vaccination at all for three times, his name will be removed from the list of free vaccinations,” stated the release issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The inoculation drive for frontline workers and healthcare workers is underway in Mumbai. Frontline workers from the BMC and BEST are being inoculated during this drive, which was launched on January 16.

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