Egypt launches website for citizens to reserve coronavirus vaccine

Ahram Online , Tuesday 15 Dec 2020

A second batch of China-made vaccine Sinopharm will be delivered to Cairo on Tuesday, according to a source at the country's health ministry

A woman wearing a protective mask looks on as people wait to make withdrawals outside a branch of Commercial International Bank (CIB), amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)

Egypt is launching on Tuesday a website through which Egyptians can reserve doses of a coronavirus vaccine, a source at the country's health ministry told Al-Ahram, only a few days after the country received the first batch of the China-made vaccine.

Egyptians wishing to obtain the vaccine will be able to register their data on the website as of early next week, the source added.

Egypt received on Thursday a 50,000-dose batch of the vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm.

A second shipment of 50,000 doses of the vaccine will be received on Tuesday, according to the health ministry's source.

In response to queries regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine compared to other vaccines, namely those developed by Pfizer and Oxford, Presidential Advisor for Health Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din affirmed in a TV comment on Tuesday that “Egypt will not receive any vaccine without making sure that it is efficient and safe.”

According to the health ministry, the Sinopharm vaccine has proven 86 percent effective against the coronavirus, 99 percent effective in producing antibodies, and 100 percent effective in preventing moderate and severe symptoms.

Health Minister Halal Zayed was administered the Chinese vaccine in September. She reported a fever of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) after taking the first shot, and only a slight rise in temperature after the second shot.

Egypt has said that the Sinopharm vaccine will be optional and free of charge for all Egyptians, while assuring that medical staff, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly will be prioritised.

Minister Zayed has said that the government is in talks with Sinovac Biotech to manufacture the Chinese company’s vaccine so the country can meet the demand of Egyptians and other African nations.

Egypt has also submitted an application to obtain COVID-19 vaccines from GAVI, a global alliance for vaccinations and immunisations that aims to ensure rapid and fair global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine doses from both Pfizer and Oxford have also been reserved, according to the Egyptian government.

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