Live updates: Nigeria destroys 1 million vaccine shots

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Authorities in Nigeria have destroyed about one million expired doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine even as the West African country's vaccination rate has almost doubled in the last one week amid a spike in confirmed infections.

Live updates: Nigeria destroys 1 million vaccine shots

On Wednesday, Nigeria's capital Abuja destroyed the expired doses, which totalled 1,066,214. This was a week after Nigeria announced it would no longer accept donated COVID-19 vaccines that have short shelf lives.

Faisal Shuaib is the head of Nigeria's National Primary Health Care Development Agency. He said that developed countries had "procured these vaccinations and hoarded (and) at their expiration, they offered them to be donated."

The most populous country of Africa is also seeing a rapid increase in vaccination. It has set a lofty goal to fully vaccinate 55 million of its 206million citizens by February 2022. However, only 2% of them have received their two doses.

In the last two weeks, there has been a 500% rise in confirmed cases.


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WARSAW (Poland) -- Poland reported Wednesday 775 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last day. This is the highest death rate from this latest round of infection.

The nation of central Europe had not recorded such high numbers since the spring, when vaccines were being developed and the region was still a hot spot for infections and death.

According to a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, most people who have died within the last 24 hours were not vaccinated.

Nearly 93,000 people have died from the virus in 38-million-strong European Union country. It has a vaccination rate 54.8%.


JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa’s recent drop in COVID-19 new cases may indicate that the country's dramatic omicron driven surge is over, medical experts believe.

Because of the possibility of unreliable reporting, irregular testing and other fluctuations, daily virus case counts can be notoriously inaccurate. They do offer a hint, though it is not conclusive -- that omicron infection may recede quickly following a spike.

South Africa has been at forefront of the Omicron Wave and the world is looking for signs to see how it might play out to help them understand the future.

The number of cases dropped to 15,424 Tuesday after reaching a national high of almost 27,000 on Thursday. The decline in Gauteng, South Africa's most populous province with 16 million inhabitants, including Johannesburg and Pretoria, began earlier and continues.


PRAGUE -- A series of measures have been approved by the Czech government to stop the spread of the omicron variant.

Vlastimil Vaek, Health Minister, has declared that all stores larger than 200 square metres (2.153 sq. Christmas Eve will see stores close at noon, and they will be closed on Christmas Day.

The number of people seated at one table in bars or restaurants has been reduced to four. Those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and have recovered from it will also be permitted to attend New Year’s Eve celebration parties.

Beginning in January, teachers, students, and all other school personnel will be tested for coronavirus once a week on Mondays and Thursdays.

All citizens aged 30 or older will now be eligible to receive a booster shot starting Monday. So far, only dozens of cases of omicron have been reported. New cases have declined since the record-breaking number of infections caused by the delta variant in November.


ROME -- The Italian government is considering outdoor mask mandates and increased testing to counter the recent surge in infections caused by the omicron variant.

Premier Mario Draghi wouldn't rule any possibility of mandating mandatory vaccinations for other groups during Wednesday's end-of-the year press conference. At the moment, all employees in health care, education, law enforcement, and military must be vaccinated.

Draghi stated that the government was not considering a lockdown on unvaccinated people. Draghi said that other measures were discussed at Thursday's meeting, including an outdoor mandate and increased testing at schools in order to ensure learning after students return from the New Year and Christmas holidays.

Italy is doing better than most of Western Europe. However, the country reported 30,000 cases and 153 deaths on Tuesday. More than 85% of its over-12 population has been vaccinated in Italy. The country now offers shots to children aged 5-11 years old and boosters for those over 18.

Draghi pointed out that nearly two-thirds (and even three-quarters) of those in intensive care and COVID-19-dead people are not vaccinated. He said, "This is a tragic fact."


PARIS -- Olivier Veran, French Health Minister, said Wednesday that omicrons are rapidly spreading and that coronavirus will be the dominant variant in the final days of 2021.

Veran spoke to BFMTV and stated that there are no additional restrictions to public life. He also said that the government's primary effort to stop the spread is a vigorous vaccination campaign. This included vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years old, which began on Wednesday.

Veran said that it was time to begin vaccinating children after 350 vaccination centres were opened across the country. To be vaccinated, children must have the consent of their parents.

According to the latest government statistics, more than one thousand children between 6 and 10 years old are infected by coronavirus.

According to the heath minister, currently, 145 children in France are being treated for severe COVID-19-related illnesses, and 27 are being treated in intensive care units.


NEW YORK -- Kathryn Malara was a Brooklyn teacher who lingers on a street filled with dread about her job.

She wrote, "I'm terrified to walk into school" on Twitter before taking a deep breathe and heading towards her classroom. "Cases exploding. People I care about are scared and sick."

Another angst-ridden debate has erupted over whether in-person education is worth it. Malara and other teachers are concerned about their health if they enter crowded schools. Parents are frustrated and wonder how to protect their children from danger, as well as whether schools could be turned into superspreaders.

It's starting to creep back up, and it's not something I like. I'm worried. Starita Ansari, a Manhattan public school parent who has sent her 10-year-old son home because he was sick with the latest COVID-19 infection at school, said that lives are at risk.

A fifth of New York City's public schools students missed in-person classes Monday. This is a sign of anxiety caused by the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in New York.

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