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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Roll up, roll up

Mark your calendars: Covid-19 vaccine registration could kick off next week here in Omm El Donia, Al Masry Al Youm reports, citing unnamed government sources who say that the ministry is waiting until it has more doses on hand before allowing people to sign up. The elderly and people with chronic conditions will be first in line for the jab after some 410k+ medical workers have been vaccinated.

How to sign up: Eligible people will be able to add their names to the waiting list through a website set up by the Health Ministry or by visiting their nearest ministry-affiliated hospital.

VACCINE WATCH- Egypt has so far received several shipments from China’s Sinopharm (here and here) and 50k from AstraZeneca. We should have another 300k coming from Sinopharm “soon”, while vaccine alliance Gavi said it will distribute 25 mn doses among the 22 countries in the World Health Organization’s EastMed region by the end of March.

In the long term: AstraZeneca has agreed to eventually supply Egypt with 20 mn doses of the vaccine, while Sinopharm will provide another 40 mn doses. Gavi will ship another 40 mn doses, and we appear to be in talks with Russia for the right to manufacture the nearly 92% effective Sputnik V here at Vacsera’s facilities. The Health Ministry said at the end of January that we could expect a domestic manufacturing agreement “within weeks.”

The Health Ministry reported 567 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 534 the day before. The ministry also reported 48 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 9,699. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 170,207 confirmed cases of covid-19.

South Africa pulls the plug on the Astra vax: South Africa has paused the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine after data showed that it provides “minimal protection” against infections caused by its local virus variant, CNBC reports. The country has received 1 mn doses of the vaccine and planned to soon begin handing out doses to its health workers, but will now wait for further scientific advice before proceeding.

Where did the virus come from? A “wet” market? A lab in Wuhan? Don’t expect answers from a World Health Organization mission to Wuhan that should be wrapping up soon — its lack of access and inability to really carry out its investigation means it is little more than a “charade,” a top scientist tells the Financial Times.

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