Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Acting Minister of Health and Population, affirmed on Wednesday that studies have shown that existing vaccines against the coronavirus are still effective in protecting citizens from the severe symptoms brought about by new COVID-19 variants.
In a report released by the Cabinet on the epidemiological situation locally and globally, the minister reviewed the developments regarding the Omicron variant and indicated that those infected with this variant are 20% less likely to require hospitalisation and 40% less likely to spend a day in the hospital.
He also explained that the booster shots have shown an 85% effectiveness rate in recovering from COVID-19 infections and that it has helped health care workers avoid hospitalisation by providing them with strong and stable resistance.
Furthermore, the minister touched on the current situation of contracting, supplying, and administering vaccines, noting that about 122.2 million doses have been supplied so far — whether through finished vaccines or in the form of raw materials for local manufacture — and about 57.4 million doses have been administered, leaving 64.8 million doses remaining.
Additionally, Abdel Ghaffar noted that the number of vaccination centres has increased, including 324 centres in hospitals, 180 offices for travel purposes, and 243 in youth centres.
Regarding efforts to expand the treatment provided and keep pace with technology to confront the new variants, the minister explained that a contract was signed with Pfizer to provide several anti-coronavirus drugs such as ‘Paxlovid’ to treat 20,000 people as a start. The ministry has also contracted to acquire enough doses of the drug ‘Evoshield’, which is being produced by AstraZeneca, to treat 50,000 people.
Moreover, the state is currently locally producing Merck’s anti-COVID ‘Molnopiravir’ drug.