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Monday, 9 August 2021

J&J shots land in Egypt, Pfizer to soon follow

Egypt received its first 260.6k batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the African Union overnight, the Health Minister Hala Zayed announced in a statement. The shots will be distributed among the 126 vaccination centers dedicated to travelers, where individuals can also obtain QR code-bearing vaccination certificates.

We’re expecting to receive more batches of J&J in the near future, the minister said, without specifying a time frame. The African Union is providing us with 25 mn doses of the single-shot vaccine while the government reportedly placed an order directly with the company earlier this year for 4 mn doses, though these are not expected to arrive until the fourth quarter. We had originally been expecting to receive the first J&J shots in July.

Remember, if you’ve already been jabbed, you’re unlikely to be able to get J&J just yet: No program is in place right now to allow people who have already been jabbed to request a second course of a vaccine they may need to travel without quarantining, Mohamed Al Nadi — a member of the government’s covid-19 committee — told us last week.

But you might be able to if you’ve only had one dose: In response to questions from the public, the health ministry’s Facebook page admins wrote that people could get a different second dose than their first, provided that they sign a waiver.

Then again, maybe not? Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed told Al Hayah Al Youm that individuals must take the same vaccine for their second dose as they did for their first (watch, runtime: 5:07).

So the bottom line: Wait and see. Or show up and take your chances.

We’re also due to receive this week the final 1.9 mn doses of Oxford / AstraZeneca Egypt has been allocated under the Gavi / Covax program.

And our first 2.5 mn-dose shipment of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine is also expected to land here at home within days, Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 5:07) last night. The ministry is prepared for the safe storage of jabs that require subzero temperatures such as Pfizer’s, having recently received ultra-cold biomedical refrigerators, Megahed told Al Masry Al Youm. We were also originally also set to receive these shots in mid-July, but the shipment was delayed.

ON THE HOMEMADE FRONT- Made-in-Egypt Sinovac shots will be distributed to vaccination centers next Saturday 14 August, Megahed added. Megahed did not specify how many doses would be made available, though he said last week that 1 mn doses of the locally-manufactured jab would be distributed in the coming two weeks.

The Health Ministry reported 65 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 61 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 284,706 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 9 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,575.

That makes it (nearly) the 13th day in a row that the daily new case count has risen according to our in-house covid tracker. The number of new reported covid-19 infections has been steadily inching up since 27 July, with the exception of a brief drop on 5 August.

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