Egypt's Health Minister Hala Zayed during her meeting with Lebanese Ambassador to Egypt Ali El-Halabi in Cairo on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Health)
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed expressed on Wednesday in a meeting with Lebanon’s Ambassador to Cairo Ali Al-Halabi at the Ministry of Health's headquarters Egypt’s readiness to provide the Lebanese people with coronavirus vaccines after achieving local self-sufficiency, as national production of the Sinovac vaccine ramps up.
The minister also affirmed Egypt's permanent readiness to meet all the needs of the health sector in Lebanon in accordance with the directives of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Health Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Megahed said in a statement.
Egypt started locally manufacturing the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine in June and distributed the first batch of the product in late-August, with around 15 to 18.5 million doses expected to be produced per month.
The local production of the WHO-approved Sinovac — which was granted an emergency use license by the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) on 23 August — is part of an agreement signed between the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) and the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
Zayed and Al-Halabi reviewed during their meeting the role played by the Egyptian team of doctors and consultants who traveled to Lebanon to provide support to the victims of the fuel tanker explosion in Lebanon’s northern region of Akkar that killed at least 28 and injured 79 others in mid-August, Megahed said.
Egypt, which extended its condolences to Lebanon over the incident at the time, sent a team of doctors specialised in plastic surgery and burns in addition to a shipment of crucial drugs and medical supplies immediately after the accident upon the directives of El-Sisi to support the brotherly people of Lebanon.
The Lebanese ambassador thanked the Egyptian political leadership and the Minister of Health for the rapid response and the highly efficient medical team that was dispatched, adding that the team’s aid has contributed to relieving the pain of the injured.
Egypt’s solidarity, the ambassador said, has helped raise the morale of Lebanon’s medical teams and patients.
Al-Halabi also expressed his appreciation for Egypt's great efforts to stand by the Lebanese people since the Beirut port explosion in 2020, the statement said.
From her side, Zayed stressed the importance of solidarity with brotherly countries in times of crisis, confirming Egypt’s readiness to provide medical aid to any brotherly Arab countries in the event of an emergency.
Since Beirut’s devastating blast in August 2020, Egypt has taken several steps to meet the needs of the Lebanese people and alleviate the burden on the Lebanese government by launching a sealift and tens of airlifts loaded with medical and humanitarian aid, food, and construction materials.
Additionally, an Egyptian field hospital has been constructed in Beirut to provide aid to victims of the blast.
Egypt’s Arab Contractors Company has recently won a bid to develop Tripoli port and its facilities in a step reflecting the country’s keenness on supporting Lebanon on all levels, especially developing its ports.
The development of the port will be followed by a number of projects to enhance Egypt’s economic presence in Lebanon, especially in the fields of technology and expertise exchange, specifically in Tripoli city, according to Egypt’s Ambassador to Lebanon Yasser Elwi.