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Egypt receives first batch of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Sinopharm is seen at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 5, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt received its first shipment of vaccines developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) late on Thursday and will get more deliveries soon, health officials said.

The shipment arrived at Cairo airport from the United Arab Emirates, which has been carrying out phase III clinical trials of the vaccine.

The UAE health ministry said this week that the Sinopharm vaccine had 86% efficacy, citing an interim analysis of the late-stage clinical trials.

The vaccine has already been used on about 1 million people in China in an emergency programme.

In Egypt the vaccine, taken in two doses 21 days apart, will be free of charge and the government will prioritise vaccinating medical staff and people with chronic diseases, health officials said.

It was unclear how many doses of the vaccine Egypt had ordered, but the health minister said there would be more shipments in the days to come.

Egypt, with a population of more than 100 million, is a large market for vaccines. In September, Russia announced a deal to supply Egypt with 25 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

Egypt's government has confirmed relatively low numbers of coronavirus infections, partly due to limited public testing, but has been warning of a second wave of the pandemic as daily infections have risen in recent weeks. (Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)

As of Wednesday, the health ministry had announced 119,702 coronavirus cases and 6,832 deaths.

Reporting by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Aidan Lewis

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