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Thursday, 25 November 2021

Booster shot rollout starts in coming days

Gov’t to start rolling out covid booster shots in coming days: The Health Ministry has decided to start handing out booster shots to vulnerable people and the elderly in the coming days, it said in a statement yesterday, amid elevated case rates at home and surging infections abroad.

Who’s eligible? The elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, and people with high exposure to the virus such as medical staff will be first up to receive a third shot. There are currently around 4 mn citizens who are eligible for boosters, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad told Ala Mas’ouleety last night (watch, runtime: 25:31).

The plan: Those eligible to receive booster shots will receive a text message six months after getting fully vaccinated telling them to head to the vaccination center where they received their initial shots to get their third jab, the ministry announced. People should contact the ministry’s covid-19 hotline (15335) or the Whatsapp number (01555005500) if they don’t receive a message.

Ahead of schedule: Government officials had previously said that booster shots would be considered once the 2021 target of vaccinating 40 mn citizens was reached. Interim health minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar yesterday announced that 44.2 mn doses of covid-19 vaccines have been administered, without specifying how many citizens had received one dose and how many had been fully vaccinated.

Daily covid cases have been elevated for almost two months while last week daily death figures inched up to highs not seen since July 2020.

The Health Ministry reported another 901 covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 856 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 353,613 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 57 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,109.

More shots are here: We received 3.7 mn vaccine doses yesterday — 1.3 mn Johnson & Johnson shots from the US government and 2.4 mn AstraZeneca shots through the Gavi / Covax program, the ministry announced.

An “Arrive Egypt” app is under development to help tourists submit their covid paperwork before entering the country, the minister also said.

IN GLOBAL COVID NEWS-

Developing countries could soon be able to manufacture replicas of patented covid-19 vaccines: The EU has proposed a targeted waiver on patent licenses that would give governments the power to oblige vaccine manufacturers to share their formulas with developing countries, allowing those countries to create cheaper versions of vaccines for their own use without paying royalties, the Financial Times reports. The move from EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis goes against his previous comments that reducing IP protection would dissuade manufacturers from investing large sums of money into researching new drugs.

Expect a decision sometime next week: The move could lead to a compromise between EMs like South Africa and India — who have called for all covid vaccines to be stripped of IP protection for three years — and the rest of the developed world when they meet at the World Trade Organization next week in Geneva.

Booster shots for all adults in Europe amid record covid cases: The EU is now recommending covid booster shots for all adults, especially those over 40, as cases across the continent soar. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Hungary have all reported record daily cases while infections in France and Germany are rising quickly. Several countries have reimposed lockdown restrictions in recent days and have resorted to tougher measures to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people.

Germany is now considering making vaccination compulsory for some segments of the population, adopting a lighter approach than Austria which last week announced that the entire population would be forced to take the shot. "Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic. In institutions where vulnerable groups are cared for, we should make vaccination compulsory," incoming chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference yesterday, Reuters reports.

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