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The Informer: The vaccines roll out, new mutations climb

Imagine more than 7000 mutations of coronavirus. Yes, it's a real thing. There are more COVID mountains to climb yet. Photo: file
Imagine more than 7000 mutations of coronavirus. Yes, it's a real thing. There are more COVID mountains to climb yet. Photo: file

With aged care reform and a continued discourse on rape allegations emanating from Canberra, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout barely takes the bronze medal in the national conversation right now.

Which could indicate that over the past few days maybe all's well (?) - no overdoses, no safety breaches. In fact, even some progress in regional Australia.

More Pfizer vaccine has arrived in Hobart which will allow more people in the priorty group to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this week; vaccination hubs are being established; and vaccination programs are gradually being rolled out in Ballarat, and Portland; while South Australia is ramping up its arrangements.

But all is not hunky dory. New South Wales may have topped 10,000 vaccinations but that doesn't make for a wholly happy Premier.

The state is on track to meet its target of 35,000 vaccines being administered in the first three weeks. But after that it's anyone's guess, Gladys Berejiklian says. The NSW government has not been told how many doses would be available or when.

"Our teams are ready and willing to step up and increase our capacity, but we just need to know exactly how many doses we're getting beyond week four," Ms Berejiklian said.

While we're talking vaccines, don't think Australia is alone in overcoming hesitancy about taking the vaccine.

After reporting a significant drop in the number of COVID-19 cases for months, some Indian states have seen a sharp uptick in infections in February, the BBC reports. The expectation that surveillance in some states is not as strong as others rings true, but so, experts say, is the prospect of virus mutation.

Several Indian states have started genome sequencing to identify new variants. Officials have said hundreds of new mutations have been identified. One study puts the number of mutations at a mind-blowing 7684.

And as India has reported the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world after the United States, it's no wonder Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen to get the message out. He received his vaccination earlier today and was pretty quick to let his 66 million followers on Twitter know.

An international consultancy firm, KekstCNC, has published the sixth edition of its "opinion tracker" from six major countries.You can download it here.

Suffice to say, Australia (not involved in the research) is not alone in being critical of its national vaccine rollout. Germany, Japan and France were all below a 30% satisfaction rating with the US coming in mid-pack at 32%.

The place you want to be, according to the survey, may come as a surprise - it's the UK where more than 20 million people have had at least one jab.

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This story The vaccines roll out, new mutations climb first appeared on The Canberra Times.