Egypt's presidential advisor for health affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din has denied claiming that the seasonal influenza shot increases the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
Tag El-Din made the statement after a voice message had been circulated where someone who sounds like the presidential advisor warns people against taking the flu vaccine.
The person in the recording claimed that since the flu vaccine introduces a weakened form of the virus in order to build up antibodies, this could cause the immune system to ignore other contagions like the coronavirus.
In remarks to Al-Hekaya on MBC Masr, Tag El-Din, who is also a pulmonologist, said the claims made in the message are “unscientific, illogical and baseless.”
He added that the annual vaccine protects against the most prevalent seasonal viruses worldwide.
The elderly, children, people suffering from chronic diseases in the respiratory system, heart or kidneys, or those suffering from immune system diseases, are strongly advised to get the flu vaccine, Tag El-Din said.
He also added that the state is keen on having all medical staff take the vaccine to avoid contracting diseases and to be ready in the event of any emergency situation.
Concerning a coronavirus vaccine, the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population announced on 12 September the start of clinical trials for a Chinese-developed vaccine.
Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the vaccine, developed by the Chinese company Sinopharm, will be tested on 6,000 volunteers aged 18 to 60. Volunteers must be free of chronic diseases and are free to withdraw from the trial at any time.
Late in September, Minister of Health Hala Zayed was administered with the Chinese vaccine.