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Monday, 1 March 2021

You’re not elderly if you’re 40+

Clarifying who’s currently eligible for the vaccine in Egypt: All Egyptian citizens and foreigners living in Egypt (including diplomats, residents, and refugees) above the age of 18 who suffer from a chronic illness are able to register for a covid-19 vaccine. The registration is currently also open to those above the age of 65, even if they do not have any underlying conditions, Assistant Health Minister Khaled Megahed told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 1:08).

There appears to have been some confusion yesterday over the eligibility criteria after the Health Ministry launched the registration website, and some individuals were not allowed to register. The confusion arose from previous statements from the ministry suggesting that the minimum age for registration was 40, not 65.

At least 68k eligible individuals had signed off for a vaccine on the website as of yesterday evening, Megahed told Hadith Al Kahera’s Khairy Ramadan and Karima Awad (watch, runtime: 13:22). More than 45k people had signed up within 12 hours of the launch, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a statement earlier in the day.

The registrations come as Egypt should be receiving 8.6 mn doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine sometime this week as part of the agreement signed with Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance) which will see Egypt receive 40 mn doses of the AstraZeneca jab during 2021, Zayed previously said.

The Health Ministry reported 595 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 588 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 182,424 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 49 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 10,688.

Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine is now cleared for emergency use in the US, making it the third in the US following Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech to receive approval, according to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration. The US has purchased 100 mn doses of the vaccine, and expects to distribute 3-4 mn this coming week. The vaccine is administered as a single dose, and — unlike the Moderna jab — can be stored in normal freezers, meaning it will be easier to ship and more accessible to parts of the world without ultra cold chains.

But the J&J rollout has faced other distribution setbacks, including issues with quality checks and upscaling manufacturing, the Financial Times reports. This has cut delivery expectations to 4 mn instead of the 10 mn originally agreed by the US government.

Some 130k Palestinians working in Israel or its settlements in the West Bank will get the Moderna vaccine as part of a limited plan from the Israeli government to inoculate Palestinians who come into direct contact with Israelis, according to a statement by Israeli liaison office COGAT. Israel signed off on the program after international pressure and criticism for not offering to vaccinate mns of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where vaccine campaigns have barely started for vulnerable groups.

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