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Egypt authorises Sinopharm’s Chinese Coronavirus vaccine

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Monday, 4 January 2021 14:50

A health professional in Egypt tests for coronavirus in Cairo on 17 June 2020. © Nariman El-Mofty/AP/SIPA

Egypt has authorised the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm, announced the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, Hala Zayed.

“The Egyptian Drug Authority approved the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm on Saturday,” Hala Zayed announced that same evening on MBC Masr.

Egypt received its first batch of the vaccine, comprising 50,000 doses, in December. It is now due to receive its second batch, in the same quantity as before, in “the second or third week of January.” “And as soon as it arrives we will begin vaccination,” the minister said.

READ MORE Coronavirus: How is Egypt navigating the economic fallout?

The ministry had announced that the first recipients would be medical personnel. According to Zayed, Egypt plans to purchase a total of 40 million doses of the vaccine from Sinopharm. The Chinese laboratory had announced on Wednesday that its vaccine, which is to be distributed in China and other countries, is 79% effective.

This figure is lower than that of the American-German vaccine Pfizer/BioNTech (95%) and that of the American biotechnology company Moderna (94.1%).

READ MORE Vaccine won’t work against South Africa coronavirus variant, worry UK scientists

In addition, the British company AstraZeneca, associated with the University of Oxford, has claimed an efficacy rate of 70%, but could reach 100% with two doses.

Increase in contamination

Zayed also announced that a first batch of vaccines from AstraZeneca is due to arrive “in the third or fourth week of January” and that a contract with the British firm is “being finalised.” Furthermore, “negotiations are underway with Pfizer,” she added.

Egypt has recorded more than 140,000 cases of COVID-19, including nearly 7,800 deaths. After a brief lull, contamination increased drastically during the autumn, from around 100 new cases per day in October to around 1,400 new cases per day today.

There has not yet been any officially-recorded cases of the UK or South African variant strain in Egypt.

 

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