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Thursday, 24 June 2021

Fully vaccinated? You no longer need a PCR test to come to Egypt

Egypt is now open to fully-vaccinated travellers: Fully vaccinated individuals will no longer have to present negative PCR test results to enter the country under new regulations (pdf) issued by the Health Ministry. Authorities consider people fully vaccinated against covid-19 starting two weeks after they receive their second jab of any vaccine that has been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).

What jabs qualify? Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik V, Oxford / AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Unvaccinated visitors will still need to show proof of a negative PCR test prior to boarding their flight to Egypt. Those arriving from countries where covid-19 variants have been identified, such as India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and Latin America, will have to undergo rapid covid tests upon arrival.

The Health Ministry reported 466 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 498 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 278,761 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 32 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 15,967.

Eva Pharma thinks it can produce a vaccine made with “100% Egyptian technology,” CEO Riad Armanious told the National. Armanious was light on details but said the drugmaker is looking to come up with the first locally-produced shot before the year is out. “We’re doing extensive testing and extensive work to develop a vaccine from scratch that is our own,” he said.

Abdala ❤️ Shahinaz: In light of Cuba’s launch of its creatively-named “Abdala” vaccine this week, we’re going to propose that Eva’s jab be called Shahinaz.

Egypt is already looking to make a jab from China’s Sinovac jab at Vacsera, with the first batches expected to be rolled off the lines these days and could be distributed as early as next month if quality control checks go well. Vacsera’s production facility is expected to produce 6 mn shots of Sinovac by the end of the year.

Could our success with local manufacturing see us booted from Covax? Some 60-70 countries could soon be removed from the Gavi / Covax vaccine-sharing scheme as the organization tries to find solutions to serious supply and distribution problems that has seen it fall far short of its targets, Reuters reports. The board is expected to discuss today a plan that’s aimed at increasing the program’s focus on the least vaccinated countries and reducing richer countries’ participation as both donors and recipients.

What’s the problem? At least 40 out of the 80 countries first allocated vaccines through the program are now facing shortages as Gavi struggles to find a reliable supply of shots. The organization is nowhere near meeting its target to deliver 1.8 bn doses by early next year, having shipped just 80 mn so far in 2021.

How much would we miss out on if we were booted from the scheme? Just under 2 mn doses. Egypt has so far received 2.6 mn vaccines from Covax, more than half of the 4.5 mn it has been allocated in the first round.

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