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Monday, 7 June 2021

Vacsera to finish first batch of Egypt-made Sinovac shots on 15 June

Made In Egypt Sinovac™ coming 15 June: The first locally-manufactured Sinovac vaccines will be ready on 15 June, Health Minister Hala Zayed told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib last night (watch, runtime: 1:39). The shots will undergo a final analysis before being dispatched to clinics, she said.

This is much earlier than expected: Only last week the ministry was saying that the first shots would be ready at the end of June.

We could soon start producing an undisclosed European vaccine: New production lines expected to come online at Sixth of October City will pave the way for Egypt to “soon” contract with a European company to locally produce its jab through Vacsera, Zayed added (watch, runtime: 0:42). The minister didn’t name the vaccine or say when an agreement could be reached. The EU pledged in May to invest at least EUR 1 bn to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa, with Egypt among the leading candidates for investment.

Expect intense lobbying at the British embassy in the coming days as Egypt tries to make a swift exit from the UK’s “red list”: Zayed told Adib that she requested to meet virtually with the UK’s ambassador to Egypt, Geoffrey Adams, to discuss the UK government’s decision to place Egypt on its “red list” (watch, runtime: 2:12). The move, effective tomorrow, means that travellers entering the UK from Egypt will be required to pay GBP 1,750 for a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine, effectively quashing British tourism to Egypt for the foreseeable future. Zayed said face-to-face meetings will take place with the ambassador when he returns to the country, allowing the government to argue its case that covid cases are falling and its vaccination campaign is picking up steam.

The Health Ministry reported 801 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 821 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 267,972 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 43 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 15,352.

Calls increase for G7 to stump up money for global vaccine rollout: One hundred ex-presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers have joined calls for the G7 to pay for vaccinating people in developing countries, according to a letter seen by the Guardian ahead of this year’s G7 meeting in the UK on Friday. A total of 230 global figures have urged the world’s richest countries to cover two-thirds of the USD 66 bn needed to produce and distribute vaccines to poorer countries.

Senegal is hoping to become a covid vaccine production hub for West Africa, with plans to begin manufacturing vaccines locally next year under an agreement with Belgian biotech group Univercells, Reuters reports. Senegal aims to produce 300 mn doses by the end of next year. Only 7 mn of Africa’s 1.3 bn population have been vaccinated against covid-19 to date.

As if supply shortages weren’t enough: The proliferation of fake covid-19 vaccines on the continent is threatening to undermine Africa’s vaccination efforts, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some 2.4k doses of fake vaccines were found at a warehouse in South Africa, with Interpol describing the seizure as “only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Covid-19 vaccine related crime.” Pfizer has said it has also identified fake versions of its vaccine in Poland and Mexico.

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