News in Brief 17 March 2021

News in Brief 17 March 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Health experts give green light to Janssen COVID vaccine

The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine was publicly approved for international use on Wednesday by UN health agency expert advisory board, SAGE.

In a virtual press conference from Geneva, SAGE hailed the one-dose Janssen shot  as a safe and lifesaving addition to the three other vaccines it has already approved for use: Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

Here’s SAGE member Dr. Kate O’Brien, an immunisation expert from the World Health Organization (WHO):

“The world is in a place where there is insufficient supply to meet the requirements of people who need to be vaccinated; clearly, any of these vaccines are lifesaving products.”

Blood clots a feature of the COVID virus, immunisation panel explains

Staying with the developing COVID vaccine story, the SAGE panel also allayed concerns over blood clots that have been associated by some countries with coronavirus jabs, without definitive evidence.

Bleeding events are a symptom of COVID-19, said Dr Annelies Wilder-Smith, SAGE Technical Advisor.

She explained that during trials for the Janssen vaccine, 10 of the 22,000 people who received the blank dose developed a blood clot, versus 14 of the 22,000 others, who had the real vaccine:

“This represented a slight imbalance, but it’s still not statistically significant”, Dr Wilder-Smith told journalists during a virtual press conference in Geneva.

There remains “no reason to think and no biological causability” that the vaccine could cause clotting, the SAGE expert said, before adding that those recruited for vaccine testing were chosen because they were people who were “at high risk” of developing blood clots.

Arms embargo on Libya totally ineffective

An international arms embargo imposed on Libya is “totally ineffective” a UN expert panel has said, while civilians, migrants and asylum seekers, continue to suffer rights violations and abuses.

In its final report, the Panel of Experts on Libya – which was established by the Security Council in 2011 – said that it had identified “multiple acts” that had threatened the peace, stability or security of the country, with increased attacks against State institutions and installations.

The report noted that unnamed Member States who were directly supporting the parties to the conflict were doing so extensively, blatantly and with complete disregard for the sanctions.

“Their control of the entire supply chain complicates detection, disruption or interdiction. These two factors make any implementation of the arms embargo more difficult,” the panel explained.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • Janssen #COVID19 vaccine given green light by WHO expert advisory board
  • Blood clot fears over vaccines not evidence based
  • Arms embargo on Libya totally ineffective, warns UN sanctions panel
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Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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© UNICEF/COVAX/Carlos César