A member of the Egyptian medical staff receives his first dose of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Health Ministry)
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed said coronavirus vaccines will be available for citizens at a cost of no more than EGP 200 (around $13) for a two-dose regimen, with needy families and individuals to be exempt from the charge.
In a phone interview with ON satellite channel on Tuesday night, Zayed noted that the price was pitched to ensure the “sustainable availability” of the vaccines, since it is still unknown whether the shots will be taken once in a lifetime or yearly.
As of Sunday 28 February, Egyptians will be allowed to reserve doses of the coronavirus vaccines via registering their data on a designated website, with priority to be given to those who suffer chronic diseases and those who are above 40.
Citizens who can’t access the website can register their data in the nearest hospital.
Zayed said a text message will be sent on phones to registered people, stating the date in which they will receive the inoculation.
The minister also noted that elderly citizens and those with chronic diseases are expected to start receiving their first shot within the first week of March.
Egypt has already vaccinated hundreds of medical workers at isolation and triage hospitals nationwide in the first step of its vaccination campaign, which began in mid-January.
Egypt set a vaccination priority list starting with the medical teams at the isolation, fever, chest, and screening hospitals; followed by kidney failure and cancer patients; then the elderly.
The health minister noted that the vaccination campaign is targeting to cover close to 65 percent of citizens under the age of 30 and around 40 million of those who are above that age by the end of 2021.
The vaccination campaign currently includes the Chinese Sinopharm and British-Swedish Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, with each person receiving two shots administered 21 days apart.
Egypt has received 350,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, and 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, both of which were granted emergency use authorisation by the Egyptian Drug Authority in January.
Within the first week of March, Zayed said, Egypt is expecting a shipment of 8.6 million doses out of 40 million doses reserved of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, an international scheme aiming to ensure equal access to new and underused vaccines.