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Thursday, 26 August 2021

Previously vaccinated would-be travellers are inching closer to those precious boosters

The Health Ministry has received the first list of requests from previously vaccinated Egyptians who want to get a second jab for the purpose of working or studying abroad, according to a statement yesterday. Those seeking cross-border healthcare are also eligible to apply for the booster. The Emigration Ministry will send subsequent lists of applicants as it reviews applications.

So, when can you get your second shot? We have no idea. The statement gave no further information on how long the process would take or when would-be travellers can expect to be called to get their boosters once they sign up — but said applications are still accepted here, and will be passed on to the Health Ministry after revision.

THE CAVEAT- The booster shots are only available for Egyptian nationals who need to work or study abroad, as well as those travelling for medical care, and are not currently available to those who need to travel for other reasons. The application form requires that Egyptians submit a scan of their passport in addition to a copy of their foreign residency permit, student visa, or foreign passport. Foreign residents are not currently allowed to apply a booster from what we’ve so far been able to deduce.

You can now get jabbed with Made-in-Egypt Sinovac shots: The first 1 mn doses of the home-made Sinovac shots are now available in vaccination centers nationwide, Health Minister Hala Zayed announced in a statement yesterday. The ministry had earlier planned to make 10 mn doses of the vaccine available at vaccination centers by mid-August. State-owned vaccine maker Vacsera has so far made 15 mn doses of the vaccine, and will ramp up capacity to produce 15-18.5 mn each month, Zayed said this week.

More vaccines are also incoming: Some 5.2 mn doses of Pfizer and Moderna are set to arrive next month, along with a second 700k dose batch of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine that was scheduled to arrive “in the coming period.”

And perhaps we’ll have even more by year’s end, when Vacsera’s largest vaccine plant will be up and running, helping Egypt reach vaccine self-sufficiency, Vacsera head Heba Waly told Sada El Balad TV (watch, runtime: 9:01) last night. Vacsera is also in talks with an unnamed North African country over the potential establishment of a Vacsera regional head office, Waly said, without going into details.

And the number of vaccination centers is also picking up: 800 centers will be operational by the end of August, the health minister said earlier this week. The number of operational centers has been climbing at a rapid pace this month and currently stands at 657 facilities nationwide. The government this week ramped up the number of vaccination centers dedicated to those wishing to travel — where individuals can also obtain QR code-bearing vaccination certificates — to 145 from 126.

The Health Ministry reported 203 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 194 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 286,938 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 8 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,691.

The number of daily infections has jumped by more than 100 in the past 10 days. Daily cases have been on the rise for almost exactly a month now, inching upwards from 31 infections on 27 July, according to our in-house covid tracker.

IN GLOBAL COVID NEWS- Africa has been cheated when it comes to vaccine access, the president of African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina told CNBC, criticizing the timing, quantities, and prices of the shots. Only 2.5% of the continent has been fully vaccinated so far, according to Our World Data. This is far behind vaccination rates in Asia (25.3%), South America (27.1%), North America (41%), and Europe (46%).

Vaccines may offer waning protection against covid within as little as six months. A real-world UK study that includes data on positive covid PCR test results between May and July among more than half a mn people vaccinated with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs showed that the effectiveness of the jab decreased from 88% after month one to 74% five to six months later, CNBC reports.

Covid-19 hospitalisation rates for children in the US are at their highest level on record, with CDC data showing an average of 303 daily hospitalizations last week, CNBC reports. Experts say they fear the opening of schools will see children — who are not old enough to receive vaccines — become a conduit for the spread of the Delta variant and a surge in cases nationwide.

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