Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Britain’s medicine regulator said anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to a medicine or food should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, giving fuller guidance on an earlier allergy warning about the shot. Starting with the elderly and frontline workers, Britain began mass vaccinating its population on Tuesday, part of a global drive that poses one of the biggest logistical challenges in peacetime history. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there had been two reports of anaphylaxis and one report of a possible allergic reaction since rollout began. “Any person with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine,” MHRA Chief Executive June Raine said in a statement. Anaphylaxis is an overreaction of the body’s immune system, which the National Health Service describes as severe and sometimes life-threatening.
• Canada on Wednesday approved its first COVID-19 vaccine and said initial shots will be delivered and administered across the country starting next week, while every Canadian will be able to be inoculated as early as the end of September. Canada is the third country after Britain and Bahrain to give the green light to Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, developed with Germany’s BioNTech SE.
• Documents related to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine were illegally accessed during a cyberattack at the EU regulator, the company said Wednesday, as Germany and other northern hemisphere countries grappled with a winter surge in the pandemic. The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) but did not give details on the attack, Pfizer and BioNTech said documents relating to their vaccine candidate had been accessed, but that “no systems have been breached in connection with this incident.”
• Israel will start Covid-19 vaccinations from December 27, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, as the country received its first batch of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. Netanyahu, who was on hand as an air freighter carrying the vaccines landed at Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, vowed to be the first Israeli to get the jab. The shipment was the first of eight million doses Israel ordered from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.
• South Africa, the country most affected by the coronavirus on the continent, has entered a second wave of the pandemic, the health minister declared Wednesday. “As it stands as a country we now meet that criteria,” Zweli Mkhize said in a statement, as the country registered nearly 7,000 new cases in the last 24-hour cycle. The country now counts 828,598 infections after 6,709 new cases were detected between Tuesday and Wednesday.