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Monday, 29 November 2021

12-15 year olds, roll your sleeves: You’re about to get jabbed

Children between 12-15 can now get vaccinated against covid-19: Egypt has authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid vaccine for children aged 12-15, the Madbouly cabinet said in a statement yesterday.

What we know about the jab for minors: Phase three trials conducted by Pfizer and BioNTech have shown that their mRNA covid jab remains 100% effective against the virus for up to four months in children aged 12-15 years-old. The trials didn’t reveal any serious safety concerns six months after the second dose, they said.

The rollout starts on Wednesday — that’s when kids as young as 12 can register on the Health Ministry’s website (www.egcovac.mohp.gov.eg) to receive their jabs, presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Tag El Din told Lamees El Hadidi Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 5:28).

Worst field trip ever: Authorities are coordinating with schools to vaccinate their students in a field trip-like manner, gathering them on a school bus and driving them to vaccination centers to get their jabs, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 9:40). He explained that the Pfizer shot can’t be offered in schools because it needs to be kept at -70°C before being thawed for administration.

High schoolers, you’re up: The ministry has reportedly set aside 8 mn of those doses for high school students following the decision to roll out Pfizer shots for children aged 12-18 earlier this month. The shipment also comes just a week after the government announced it will be rolling out booster shots to at-risk Egyptians.

Will some students also get locally made Sinovac? Tag El Din told Lamees that schoolkids could get jabbed with Sinovac when they’re bussed in to roll up their sleeves. The government has yet to approve the jab for use in 12-15 year-olds, but its Chinese developer has said the vaccine is safe for use in children as young as three. The jab received regulatory approval from Chinese authorities earlier this year. We don’t expect Sinovac to be used for 12-15 year-old kids until cabinet has given explicit approval, and we’ll be looking for the Health Ministry to make its intentions clear soon.

This comes only weeks after the authorities approved the Pfizer covid vaccine for children between 15 and 18 and jabs in schools started. Earlier this month the US Center for Disease Control officially recommended that 5-11-year-olds receive Pfizer’s pediatric covid jab.

The latest vaccine stats: Some 15.6 mn Egyptians are now fully vaccinated against covid-19, the cabinet statement said. Another 29.6 mn have received their first dose of a vaccine. The government is aiming to vaccinate 40% of the population (around 40 mn people) by the end of the year.

The Health Ministry reported 951 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 931 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 356,718 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 42 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,347.

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