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Sunday, 27 June 2021

We have our first Sputnik shots

Egypt received 210k doses of Sputnik V on Thursday, the first shipment of the Russian-made covid vaccine, the Unified Procurement Authority said in a statement. This comes under an agreement with Russia to deliver 10 mn doses of the jab. An unnamed Emirati company will also ship as many as 20 mn doses of the vaccine to Egypt before the year is out, but it is unclear whether the initial 10 mn agreed with Russia count towards that quota. Minapharm is also set to manufacture some 40 mn doses of the vaccine per year, with the first to be rolled out in 3Q2021.

FACT CHECK- A third dose of the Sinopharm vaccine is not required to be fully protected against the virus, Health Ministry Undersecretary for Preventive Affairs Mohamed Abdel Fattah told DMC (watch, runtime: 8:59), responding to chatter on social media. The UAE and Bahrain had offered citizens a third jab of the Chinese vaccine and are now offering Pfizer boosters to folks starting six months after they received their second jabs.

The Health Ministry reported 409 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 412 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 280,005 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 31 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,062.

South Africa’s Afrigen Biologics could manufacture Africa's first mRNA covid-19 vaccine after being chosen by the World Health Organization in a pilot program to give low- and middle-income countries the know-how and licenses to produce shots, according to Reuters.

Egypt could be involved in a similar program being run by the EU: Egypt, along with Senegal, South Africa, Rwanda, Morocco, is one of the leading candidates to receive at least EUR 1 bn in investment from the EU to establish covid-19 vaccine manufacturing facilities in Africa. Health Minister Hala Zayed and ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed have both said this month that Egypt would soon tie up an agreement with an undisclosed European company to produce its vaccine locally.

The African country hardest-hit by covid has almost run out of vaccines: Namibia will as of Tuesday suspend the administration of first doses of jabs as its vaccine stocks run low amid delays in shipments, Bloomberg reports. Namibia, which is currently experiencing the worst outbreak on the continent, is one of the 80 countries first allocated vaccines through the Gavi / Covax program facing the prospect of vaccine shortages as supply problems mount.

The World Health Organization is urging fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks, follow social distancing and other safety measures to contain the spread of the highly-contagious delta variant, which is spurring new covid-19 surges around the world even in highly-vaccinated countries such as the US and Israel, CNBC reports. The comments come in the backdrop of WHO chief’s admission on Friday that the delta variant, first identified in India, is “the most transmissible of the variants identified so far," and warned it’s now spreading in at least 85 countries (watch, runtime: 1:05).

The news comes as Canada has issued clear guidance on what fully-vaccinated people can do (pdf). The measures suggest fully vaccinated folks can drop their masks outdoors.

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