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Sunday, 28 March 2021

The next big batch of vaccines may be delayed

Egypt may not be getting its 5 mn doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine through the Gavi / Covax scheme this month. The global program designed to get vaccines in the hands of emerging markets suffered a setback when vaccine producer Serum Institute of India (SII) temporarily suspended all exports of the jab as India’s own case tally soars, according to a UNICEF statement. The suspension means that some countries waiting for jabs under the scheme will see their shipments delayed in March and April.

As one door closes, could another open? A handful of wealthy countries — including the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia — have purchased or manufactured enough vaccine doses to cover their populations several times over. The US, for example, is currently hoarding tens of mns of doses of the AstraZeneca jab, which has yet to earn regulatory clearance in the US but could be shipped to other countries that have cleared the vaccine and are running short on supplies. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are also under pressure: Each has contracted a pipeline of jabs sufficient to cover their populations many times over.

The Health Ministry reported 683 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 670 the day before. The ministry also reported 41 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 11,845. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 199,364 confirmed cases of covid-19.

A new super-mutant covid-19 strain has been discovered in Tanzania that has more mutations than any known variant, according to a report submitted to the WHO by an African scientific institute. Three people who traveled to Angola from the east African country were found to have picked up the variant, prompting scientists to call for “urgent investigation.”

The EU is at a "breaking point" as the third wave runs rampant throughout the bloc and places hospitals under severe strain as the case tally soars amid a slow vaccine rollout, with several countries such as Poland hitting all-time highs for infections, the Financial Times reports.

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