Egypt to receive first AstraZeneca vaccines Sunday

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Egypt said Saturday the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca would arrive on Sunday.

The Egyptian authority in charge of the acquisition of pharmaceuticals announced "the arrival of the first batch of the AstraZeneca-Oxford tomorrow, Sunday January 31, 2021", without specifying the number of doses.

Last week, officials said they had ordered 20 million doses, according to Egyptian media.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country with around 100 million people, has recorded nearly 165,000 COVID-19 cases, including more than 9,200 deaths.

But some suggest the reported infection rate is much lower than actual figures.

Cairo started vaccinating using China's Sinopharm jabs on January 24, the first doses of which were delivered in December.

On Friday, Health Minister Hala Zayed said that 1,315 medical workers had received a first dose.

Jabs will be rolled out next to the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.

AstraZeneca was initially praised for the speed of its vaccine development, but is now being criticised for delays in delivery to the European Union due to production problems.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute has also questioned the effectiveness of the jab among the over-65s, citing gaps in test data.

© 2021 AFP

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