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Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Travelers can now ask for J&J + the delta variant isn’t yet in Egypt

J&J jabs and QR code-bearing vaccination certificates are now available to still-unvaccinated citizens and residents who need to travel, Mohamed Abdel Fattah, head of the Health Ministry’s Central Administration for Preventive Affairs told Nagham FM (listen, runtime 34:33). Travelers who apply for the single-dose vaccine should receive a message within 72 hours. The country has 126 vaccination centers dedicated to issuing official vaccination certificates for those wishing to travel.

Egypt will receive a second 700k dose batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “in the coming period,” according to a statement by the Health Ministry, after we received the first batch of 260.6k Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the African Union on Monday.

So what about those of us who got Sinopharm, but want to travel to a country doesn’t recognize the jab? Could we someday have access to J&J boosters? Mohamed Al Nadi, a member of the Health Ministry’s covid-19 taskforce, told DMC last night that those vaccinated with non-EU-endorsed vaccines, including Chinese’s Sinopharm and Sinovac, will eventually be able to reapply for the Johnson & Johnson jab as a booster shot. The sticking point, however, is that the government is aiming to inoculate at least 40 mn of the Egyptian population before 2022, so such requests wouldn’t exactly top the Health Ministry’s priority list, he said.

Al Nadi added that no cases of the delta or delta-plus variants have been officially detected in Egypt (watch, runtime: 14:06) — and said the recent pick-up in Egypt’s daily new case count is in line with the ministry’s predictions for a rise in infections during the busy summer season.

We might receive the next shipment by September: The ministry’s statement did not specify the exact timeframe, however, the African Union — which is providing us with the J&J vaccines — is expected to increase its vaccine shipments by September. 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, which are expected to arrive in the fourth quarter.

What about Pfizer? We’re still waiting on our first 2.5 mn-dose shipment of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which health ministry officials said should land here at home within days. The shipment was originally scheduled to arrive in mid-July, but has been delayed since then.

Egypt received overnight 525k doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab, delivered to us from Romania as a gift as part of a three-way agreement between the Health Ministry, the Romanian government and vaccinemaker AstraZeneca, according to a ministry statement. The shots will undergo a final analysis before being dispatched to vaccination centers nationwide, Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed said.

More AstraZeneca jabs are en route: Egypt is due to receive this week the final 1.9 mn-dose shipment of AstraZeneca Egypt has been allocated under the Gavi / Covax program. We’re also still waiting on the 250k doses of AstraZeneca, gifted to us by Slovenia, which were expected to be shipped as early as late last month.

Afreximbank wants to team up with Egypt on the manufacturing of jabs for distribution across Africa, President Benedict Oramah said yesterday during his meeting with Health Minister Hala Zayed in Cairo. The statement was otherwise scant on details, saying only that Afreximbank, who is also partner on the AU’s new online covid-19 vaccines marketplace Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), is looking to benefit from the production capacity of Egyptian pharma factories, given the Sinovac jabs being produced at the state’s Vacsera plants.

The Health Ministry reported 86 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 83 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 284,875 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 6 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,588.

The daily case count is still climbing steadily for day 15, with the exception of a brief drop on 5 August, according to our in-house covid tracker.

Concerns over the efficacy of Sinopharm and Sinovac against the Delta variant have arisen after outbreaks in Nanjing and Shanghai airports, highlighting the absence of studies on the vaccines’ resistance to the new strain, the Financial Times reports. Unlike other vaccines, there is no peer reviewed research on the WHO-approved Chinese vaccines effectiveness against Delta, and authorities have not revealed how many infections from the Nanjing outbreak are “breakthrough cases” — people who have already been vaccinated.

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