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Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Health Ministry mulls allowing 12 year olds to be jabbed

The Health Ministry could bring down the minimum vaccine eligibility age to 12, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said last night, depending on the availability of vaccines approved for use in children (watch, runtime: 4:06). The government aims to gradually bring down the age of eligibility, from 18 to 15, and then later to 12, Saad added. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had previously said Egypt could begin offering vaccines to children at schools once they are approved for use by minors.

The Health Ministry is considering banning unvaccinated people from entering government service offices, Saad told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Mousa (watch, runtime: 4:38). This measure would follow the completion of the vaccination of all government employees, with 3 mn out of 3.5 mn government administrative employees having been vaccinated so far, Saad said.

Good news travelers: The cost of getting a covid PCR test is about to get 25% cheaper after the cabinet approved the decision to reduce the cost of the test for both Egyptians and foreigners during its weekly meeting. Egyptian travelers will now pay EGP 900 for the test instead of EGP 1,200, while foreigners will pay EGP 1,200 instead of EGP 1,600. We believe the pricing decision applies only to prospective travellers requesting pre-departure tests at government labs, but the statement does not make that clear.

Egypt will receive a donation of 2 mn doses of Sinovac from China, which is expected to arrive during “the coming period”, the Health Ministry said in a statement during a visit on Monday by the Chinese ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang.

The Health Ministry reported 778 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 771 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 308,347 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 39 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 17,508.

Pfizer vaccine 90% effective at preventing hospitalization: Two doses of Pfizer/BioNtech’s covid-19 vaccine have been shown to be “highly effective” against covid-related hospitalizations for a six-month period according to a new 3 mn-person study, published in the Lancet medical journal. The vaccine remained 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations from all variants, including the more virulent delta strain.

But efficacy against infection wanes considerably after just five months: The vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing infections dropped considerably, from 88% protection against contracting the virus in the first month after vaccination to some 47% after five months. The findings come after a separate CDC study last month said that vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization went from 91% in the first few months to 77% after four months.

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