World Roundup: Vaccine doses exceed 200m, says AFP tally

The number of coronavirus vaccine doses administered worldwide passed 200 million Saturday, an AFP count showed, as wealthy G7 countries pledged to more than double aid to support access for the less well-off.

With 45 percent of injections so far among the rich club – which accounts for just 10 percent of the global population – the G7 on Friday said its aid to projects like the World Health Organization’s Covax now amount to $7.5 billion.

The increased pledges from the US, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and Canada came as permanent UN Security Council member Britain showed a draft resolution to other countries on the global body, calling for wealthy nations to share doses with poor and war-torn states.

Australia starts mass vaccination

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout began Sunday, with top officials among a small group receiving the first jabs a day before the vaccination programme starts in earnest.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was injected with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at a medical centre in Sydney’s northwest, in what the government said was an effort to boost public confidence in the vaccinations.

Jane Malysiak, an aged care resident and WWII survivor in her 80s, was the country’s first person to receive the vaccine, followed by health care workers and other officials.

“She’s taking part in what is a very historic day for our country,” Morrison said. “Tomorrow our vaccination program starts, so as a curtain-raiser today we’re here making some very important points – that it’s safe, that it’s important, and we need to start with those who are most vulnerable and are on the front line.”

UK: Every adult vaccinated by September

The UK government on Sunday vowed to offer a first coronavirus vaccine dose to every adult by the end of July, as it readied to announce a gradual easing of its third lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will outline the lockdown review in parliament on Monday, said the faster inoculation campaign would seek to offer a first dose to everyone aged over 50 by mid-April.

The previous targets in the world-first campaign were to inoculate over 50s by May, and all adults by September.

“We will now aim to offer a jab to every adult by the end of July, helping us protect the most vulnerable sooner, and take further steps to ease some of the restrictions,” Johnson said, while adding the exit would be “cautious and phased.”

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