tv Inside Story LINKTV December 11, 2020 5:30am-6:01am PST
forecast such high tides. ♪ c1 >> you are with al jazeera. these are the top stories. the world's first fully tested coronavirus vaccine has been administered in the united kingdom. this is 90-year-old grandmother margaret keenan who made history as the first person to be vaccinated against covid-19. 800,000 doses of the pfizer biontech vaccine are now available in 70 u.k. hospitals. u.s. president-elect joe biden has introduced his new medical team. he says he will get a grip on the coronavirus pandemic in his first three months in office. >> this team will help get at
the last 100 million covid vaccine shots, into the arms of american people in the first 100 days. 100 million shots in the first 100 days. >> that's what the next president is talking about. the current president donald trump has signed an executive order to prioritize vaccines for the united states before sending aid to other countries. the signing comes amid reports that the president actually rejected an earlier offer from pfizer to double the order of the vaccines. in other news, donald trump's quest to overturn the election results has suffered another defeat. as the u.s. supreme court rejected an appeal to throughout votes in pennsylvania. the republican wanted to dismiss up to 2.5 million ballots, arguing the states 2019 expansion of mail-in voting was illegal under state law.
the nation's highest court did not explain its reasoning for denying the emergency request. iran's parliamentary speaker has ordered the implementation of a law that could stop a surprise you and inspections of nuclear sites. the law is opposed by the foreign minister and the president. ethiopian security forces have shot at and detained u.n. security officials trying to reach the region. they say that officials were assessing roads to deliver aid to refugee camps. a government spokesperson says the team ignored instructions. . not to be in the area you are up-to-date with the headlines. on al jazeera the latest edition of "inside story" is coming up next. ♪
>> rolling out a coronavirus vaccine. the u.k. is the first country to administer shots.as the rest of the world is watching, could this be the start of the pandemic coming under control? will step is the persuaded to take -- will skeptics be persuaded to take the vaccine? this is "inside story." hello and welcome to the program. it is hoped they are at the beginning of the end of the pandemic, but public anxiety over the safety could undermine that goal. all eyes are on how the western world first coronavirus mass inoculation program will work out in the u.k. the nation has started rolling out the first doses of pfizer biontech's vaccine.
90-year-old margaret keenan was the first person to receive the job. elderly care home workers and health care staff have prioritized to receive the 800,000 shots available. reporter: it is happening. a turning point in the global fight against a virus that has killed more than one million people around the world. 90-year-old grandmother margaret keenan made history, becoming the first person to be vaccinated with the pfizer biontech shot outside a trial. she encourages others to follow her lead. >> it's free and it's the best thing that's ever happened. the moment is due, please go for it. reporter: in a somewhat dramatic turn, the second vaccine went to a man called william shakespere, a poetic start perhaps to a new chapter in the fight against coronavirus. more than half of the people who have died of the virus in the u.k. are over 80.
they are getting the injection first along with elderly in care homes. other doses are going to frontline medical staff. news coverage called it v for vaccine day but the prime minister said it's too early to call it v for victory. >> in scotland, england, wales, people are having the vaccine for the first time and it will gradually make a huge difference, but i stress, gradually. we are not there yet. we have not defeated this virus yet. reporter: batches of the pfizer biontech drug up you approved for use last week have been arriving from the factory in belgium. the logistical challenge has been immense. it needs to be kept at -70 degrees celsius. in england, dozens of hospitals with facilities to store the chilled drug are the first place to administer it. scotland, wales, and northern ireland have begun similar projects.
the government has ordered 40 million doses so far and 800,000 will be available in the first round this week, capable of inoculating 400,000 people with two injections 21 days apart. we have shuttered our economies and struggled through months of grief and anxiety.lives have been cut short and elderly people separated from their loved ones. we have known for some time that the only surefire way out of this pandemic is a vaccine. now, a shred of hope that in the not-too-distant future, things might start returning to normal. it is hoped several million people will be vaccinated before the end of the year, when boxes of the vaccine that come in packs of olmos 1000 will be split up and sent to doctors surgeries and care homes around the country. the vaccine can be stored at normal fridge temperature, but only for a short period. it is a day of mixed emotions, joy and hesitation.
most vulnerable people won't get the vaccine until next year, and with infection rates going up here in london and elsewhere, restrictions may have to get tighter before they get easier. but it is only a matter of months since scientists set their minds on defeating this common enemy, a process that normally takes many years. now against all odds, a sense the long march out of the pandemic has begun. neave barker for "inside story." mohammed: other countries have announced plans to roll out vaccines. russia began injecting doctors, teachers and health care workers. china is inoculating more than one billion people with one of its experimental vaccines. the u.s. could grant emergency authorization to a pfizer candidate by the end of the week and start delivering to states immediately.the eu is reviewing pfizer vaccines safety and could authorize it by the end of the month. south
korea has announced it has secured enough doses to cover 80 -- 80% of its population but it won't start rolling them out until other countries have done so first. let's bring in our guests in london, we have anna blakney, research fellow and bio engineer at imperial college london where she works on covid-19 development. azeddine ibrahimi is professor of medical biotechnology at mohammed v university. sergio's moscowchows is a molecular virologist at north on beer at university. what are the steps being taken to control the pandemic and can we say this is now the beginning of the end of covid-19? >> it is definitely the beginning of the end hopefully, but one thing we all have to
remember is it is not over quite yet. we have to keep social distancing, wearing a mask, washing our hands and rapid testing to continue to control the spread until the vaccine is fully rolled out. mohammed: from your perspective, as far as what happens with the rollout of the vaccine and britain, how muchill impact the actions of other governments and other countries going forward? >> actually, i am very excited that finally it is starting in britain. i think we were waiting for this day for many months. i think it is a huge success not for one country, but for humanity. to be able in one year almost to have a vaccine and start rolling people is great. but i think it's very interesting that every country,
what's happening in other countries, they should know to gain their experience and try and do it. in africa and morocco it is different from other countries, but i think we will benefit from what's happening in england, and britain, to manage it differently depending on the context where we are. mohammed: it looks like you wanted to jump in. i saw you nodding along. i also want to ask you if we could take a step back for a moment and consider what he was saying, how remarkable it is that in less than a year, scientists were able to come together and produce a vaccine. this is something that is unprecedented in the development of vaccines in this modern world of ours. >> it is very much so. and the thank you has to start from the scientists in china that identified the virus, showed the genome of the virus
online straightaway as soon as possible, notified everyone they could, and we have to continue the thank you to the virologists that started looking into what it means, and the vaccine scientists within a couple of weeks who decided to look at what the vaccine would come to be. the vaccine companies got together and thought, we are not doing this for profit, we will do this for the world when the situation was getting out of hand.of course, we must not forget the people who signed up for the trials. a brand-new vaccine technology for the pfizer biontech and moderna vaccines, but also knowing that they might get a placebo and may not be protected. there are a lot of factors not just for health care technology -- professionals, but technologists and other scientists who came together to resolve this crisis. mohammed: and britain has been repeatedly criticized for having botched its response to
covid-19. you believe that the country is actually going to be able to effectively roll out this vaccine and to vaccinate tens of millions of people in a matter of months? >> i think what is really important right now is the overall communications strategy. i think scientists all your have been excited we have been able to rapidly make a vaccine, but the responsibility falls on us now and the government to educate people about what is this vaccine? how is it developed? how is it tested, so we can start to promote competence in the vaccine. there is no point in making a vaccine if nobody is going to take it. we are just beginning this second challenge of doing a mass campaign for education around the vaccine. mohammed: let's expand on what and was saying. she's touching on a point, vaccine hesitancy. from your point of view, will
this be a problem trying to inoculate people in many countries? >> i agree. i think the key word here is trust. i think if we want to go to mass vaccination, we have to gain the trust of the population and educate them and make an effort as a scientist to communicate cleanly, clearly to engage communities to have them to vaccinate. and it is something that is not that easy to do because talking now, i'm thinking about our big country where we have to use scientific language to do that. it's a good chance to have simply because we are not looking at the short-term for covert -- covid.
unfortunately we might have more crises like this and scientists should be communicating transparently and engaging the community to push them to be enrolled in this effort. mohammed: when we talk about the anti-thermo movement, -- anti-thermo movement, when we talk about hesitancy, we are not just talking about opposition to covid-19 vaccines, we are talking about all vaccines and in recent years, in many countries there have been a resurgence of d.c.'s is like measles that were thought to have been eliminated. how concerned are you that this movement will keep going, and if we can pick up on the point he was making, what can leaders and scientists do to combat this? >> the history of anti-vaxxers
goes back, it is nothing new. what is new is the people who refuse to take vaccines when there are still people walking around who remember the artificial lungs, massive machines people had to sit into in order to protect themselves from dying because there was no other way to keep them alive after getting a communicable disease that's easy to prevent. this has happened in the lifetimes of people alive today. perhaps not the younger generation, but people alive today can remember what it was to live without vaccination. whether it works or not is clear. we will see this again with covid-19. what about the message? the message has never stopped being important.
it was never eliminated but it was certainly contained to an extent that we did have to worry about it. now we are seeing outbreaks in countries where measles vaccinations should be at the right level to prevent this from happening. this is an entirely preventable disease. covid-19 is likely to enter that family of diseases that will be preventable in the future but still around, because somewhere between animal reservoirs and the anti-axxers, we can see the disease becoming endemic. eventually it will become likely this will be part of the younger generation vaccine program implemented in most countries. the challenge is the message.
the rulebook on how to convey the message was written five years ago. we had a situation in west africa where people had never seen ebola before, they did not know vaccine education. the health care system involves literally straw hats with no windows. they learned from the local community leaders what they needed to do and they did it. they changed burial habits, they changed every behavior, they became vaccinated when necessary paired when we taught them that rulebook that we wrote and applied it to our society. we've seen it in the last 12 months. we need to make sure the community and society is protected as much as possible. mohammed: if we are talking about obstacles in the path of people getting vaccinated, on
the one hand you have vaccine hesitancy, the anti-vaccine movement, but then you have the sheer logistics. this is difficult ensuring these vaccines are actually distributed. can you talk us through the logistics of it, especially when it comes to pfizer's vaccines, the extreme cold storage it will take, how difficult is this going to be? >> storage is definitely a difficult aspect of it. especially pfizer and biontech that needs to be stored at -80. logistically, they are shipping and dry ice packages that keep it at temperature. it is in a vial that contains multiple doses. they all need to be administered and a certain amount of time. another important challenges organizing and finding the people that are going to be vaccinated first. the u.k. is lucky that it has a
centralized health care system, so everyone is identifiable in that way. that will be key in distributing it. it is a huge logistical challenge. the storage conditions of the vaccine make it challenging, but some of the other candidates like moderna and the astrazeneca vaccine has easier storage solutions. but it will take a lot of coordination between the government and local gps. mohammed: of course, it is not just about getting vaccinated and distributing the vaccine. there's a large percentage of the population that needs to get vaccinated before you can start approaching herd immunity. how long do something like that take, and how much of the population needs to get inoculated before that immunity can take root? >> there's a question about
logistics and i think for countries like africa, the role of the who is essential for accreditation and recommendation. absolutely, we have different vaccines and a logistical difference from one vaccine to another. there's a crucial role for who. for immunity and how long it will take, to get to the herd immunity, it is quite essential for any strategy for the first part of it since we don't have enough doses of the vaccines. it will be interesting to protect the vulnerable population, people over 65 years old and people with chronic diseases. we have to protect them. the priority will be given to them. if we can manage actually to protect this 20% of the population, it will be interesting to have less and less stress into the icus and
the hospitals and hopefully we can get less people dying. it is interesting. i think for the first part, we will try to protect 20%, may be by june or something, more vaccines, second-generation vaccines and protecting more people, hoping by the third semester to get actually 60% or 67%, 70%, this time we can talk about actually managing the pandemic. it will take a little bit of time and it's going to go by first step, protecting vulnerable people and after that, increasing the level of vaccination to get more people vaccinated and herd immunity. mohammed: if we are talking about herd immunity, we are assuming that there might be a vaccine that would prevent ultimately transmission of covid-19, not just the disease itself. do we know at this stage if the
vaccines that have been developed actually prevent transmission? >> frankly, no. we need to see the data and see to what extent the individuals that have been vaccinated that are actually shedding infectious virus, this has not been disclosed to the best of my knowledge. the other panelists -- the important thing is we need to convey to the public a really clear and sober understanding that we cannot let our guard down. we cannot go out and party, not for christmas, not for easter, not for june, probably not even for later. we will have to put up with this social distancing and protection for many months to come if we are to go to the point where there is this diverse protection. there's another aspect here that
seems to have been forgotten in the last week. there is this thing called long covid. there are people out there experiencing the disease in a mild for -- format, but they are affected chronically. we still don't know what that means. we are still lacking evidence of where else in the body the virus might be hiding and what it's doing in the long term. why? we simply have not had more than a year to see what's happening to people infected with coronavirus. it is essential for society and the economy that we keep looking after ourselves and our families and colleagues by not getting exposed as much as possible over the next period of time until a vaccine is received and it is ready to work, which is a month after the first dose. mohammed: anna, do we have any idea how long immunity from any of the vaccines may last? beyond that, what about those
who have had covid or find they have antibodies in their system, do we know if it is safe for them to get the vaccine? >> really great questions. actually, we've just gotten some big updates in the past week. moderna published a paper on the duration of immunity from their vaccine. we are still learning more and more about this every day. their paper showed that after the second vaccination, the participants in the trial still had high antibody numbers after three months. at this point, all they can say is it lasts for at least three months. the data is ongoing so we will continue to add to the knowledge. there have been several arms of the clinical trials looking at vaccinating people who have already had the natural infection. they may already have antibodies to this. what they are wondering is, does the vaccine boost immunity to the natural infection? overall, the answer is yes.
even people who already had covid, it is still important to get vaccinated. the idea is that antibodies from a natural infection have been shown to last usually three to six months. there is variability depending on the disease severity. by getting the vaccine, you will boost that immunity even longer so that is the intention. mohammed: in your previous answer, you mentioned more vulnerable segments of populations, especially the elderly, when it comes to vaccine and when they will get vaccinated. i want to ask about other vulnerable and marginalized communities in other parts of the world, like refugees, migrants, the displaced. is there any indication of when those populations might actually have access to a covid-19 vaccine? >> that's a great question. i think we are giving the human dimension to this mess
vaccination -- mass vaccination. it would be a pity that we cover all the rich countries and forgot the poor countries and people living in a bad situation. but i hope this program and other programs, that we can manage with the world health organization. protecting the refugees should be included and populations that are really vulnerable and should be protected. but i think it is something we have to deal with. as i said in the beginning, it is not just one country or one person or rich people or poor people, we are in the same boat. we need to come out of this pandemic as a whole somehow. i think it's great you have this question. i didn't think about it but i think it is something great to
think about, refugees. there are lots of refugees in europe, in africa, and asia. think about yemen for example. there's lots of places to think about that. mohammed: we have run out of time, so we have to leave the conversation there. thank you so much to all of our guests. anna blakney, azeddine ibrahimi, and sterghios moschos. thank you for watching. you can visit the programming at any time at our website and our facebook page. you can also join the conversation on twitter. from me mohammed jamjoom, and the whole team here, goodbye for now.
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