Egypt to receive first shipments of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 drugs in January: Health ministry

Ahram Online , Monday 3 Jan 2022

Egypt is expected to receive its first shipments of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca coronavirus drugs in January, Egyptian health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar said on Monday.

An image shows Pfizer s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. Pfizer via AP

By the end of this month, Egypt will receive Pfizer’s Paxlovid pills required for the treatment of 20,000 coronavirus patients, as well as AstraZeneca’s Evusheld coronavirus antibody required to treat 50,000 patients, Abdel-Ghaffar told the media.

Three national companies in Egypt have also completed manufacturing Merck’s Molnupiravir coronavirus drug used to keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital, Abdel-Ghaffar revealed, without naming the companies.

The three drugs all obtained the authorisation of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use in December.

While Paxlovid and Molnupiravir pills are both used to treat cases with mild-to-moderate symptoms during the early days of infection, Evusheld is meant to prevent coronavirus infections.

Some studies have found that when taken in the early days of infection, Paxlovid can reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death by up to 89 percent, while Molnupiravir cut the risk by 30 percent.

However, Abdel-Ghaffar stressed that coronavirus vaccines are the most effective way to reduce deaths and severe infections.

Egypt has received around 121 million coronavirus vaccine doses, Egypt's Presidential Adviser for Health Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din told the media on Saturday.

On 29 December, Egypt announced that it had administered more than 21 million second coronavirus vaccine shots since the country started its vaccination campaign early this year.

This means that Egypt has fully vaccinated slightly over 20 percent of its 102.8 million population over the past year, falling short of the World Health Organisation’s global target for countries to fully vaccinate 40 percent of their populations by the end of 2021.

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