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Monday, 21 June 2021

Egypt’s vaccine rollout is gaining speed + Vacsera’s new facility set to be biggest in MENA/Africa

Egypt’s vaccine rollout seems to be accelerating: Some 4 mn people have now received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine, an unnamed senior health official told El Watan yesterday. That’s up by around 1.5 mn from the beginning of the month and almost 2 mn from late May. The country began its vaccination campaign with frontline medical staff in late January for frontline medical staff and before rolling it out to the general public in March.

By our math, that’s probably around 7% of all folks who are eligible to be jabbed, which in Egypt is defined as citizens and other residents age 18 and over.

As of yesterday, 8.4 mn people had registered to receive a vaccine, the source said. At the end of last month, the ministry was seeing on average 300k registrations a day, a marked improvement after starting out at just 20k per day.

The government is aiming to vaccinate 40% of the population by the end of the year, with an eye to inoculating at least 20% of all citizens before August.

State-owned vaccine maker Vacsera’s second manufacturing facility in Sixth of October City is set to become the largest in the Middle East and Africa and will churn out 3 mn doses of Sinovac’s covid-19 vaccine a day when up and running, Health Minister Hala Zayed said at a site tour yesterday. The minister did not mention when production would start at the plant.

We might soon be manufacturing a European vaccine on our shores, according to Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed, who told Extra News in a phone-in last night that Egypt will contract with an undisclosed European company in the coming weeks to locally produce its jab through the state-owned vaccine maker (watch, runtime: 9:58).

The first batch of Made-in-Egypt Sinovac jabs could be done this week. Zayed said last week that the first shots would be produced “within days” and would be subject to tests ahead of bring distributed to clinics around the country in August. The ministry expects to manufacture as many as 40 mn Sinovac jabs before the end of the year.

Egypt is set to receive 25 mn doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine, as part of the 300 mn doses provided to Africa by the African Union, presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Tag El Din said on eXtra News on Friday (watch, runtime 8:21). The head of Egypt’s medical procurement body said last month that Egypt would receive 20 mn J&J shots through the AU, and that 4 mn of them should arrive within 4Q2021.

The Health Ministry reported 532 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 566 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 277,288 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 30 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 15,859.

IN INTERNATIONAL COVID NEWS-

The highly-transmissible delta variant is threatening a new resurgence of the virus in the EU after becoming the dominant strain in Portugal, writes the Financial Times. Clusters of the delta variant — first identified in India — are now appearing in Germany, France and Spain, and EU officials are growing concerned that its spread threatens to derail the bloc’s progress at clamping down on its outbreak.

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