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