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Sunday, 4 April 2021

Vaccine rollout to speed up, more jabs on their way

The Health Ministry reported 710 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 703 on Friday and up from 712 on Thursday. The ministry also reported 39 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 12,123. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 204,256 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Egypt has so far received nearly 1.6 mn doses of different types of vaccines since December, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said on Thursday (watch, runtime: 4:12). Those include 680k Sinopharm vaccines and 904k of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jabs. Some 400k additional doses are expected to land within two days, Madbouly said without specifying the origin of the new doses.

It also appears there won’t be significant delays to shipments of AstraZeneca jabs coming in this month. Egypt is expected to get its hands on a total of 5 mn doses through the Gavi / Covax scheme by late April or early May, Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib over the weekend (watch, runtime: 1:33). The first 854k-dose batch of the vaccine already landed on Wednesday, but earlier reports had suggested further deliveries could be interrupted as the manufacturer is struggling to keep up with global demand. Egypt placed a 40 mn-shot order through Covax which it’s expecting to receive throughout the year.

Even more AstraZeneca on the way: Egypt was among 18 African countries that have purchased the 1 mn AstraZeneca doses South Africa said it’s offloading last month after a study showing the jabs offered little protection against its local covid-19 variant, Bloomberg reported, citing South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. It remains unclear how many of these jabs were earmarked for Egypt, or when we’re expected to get our hands on them.

Another 200 vaccination centers will be operational nationwide as of today, in addition to the 139 centers already in operation, Megahed told Adib (watch, runtime 1:36). Forty additional centers will be opened in Cairo alone, Megahed said, adding that they had doubled the numbers of medical staff available in existing centers to accommodate the higher influx of patients. Some applicants will be automatically reassigned by the Health Ministry’s Information Center to the new vaccination centers in order to speed up the rollout, which has been bogged down by long waiting lists at some centers, Megahed added.

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