Egypt to meet African countries' demand for coronavirus vaccines in 45 days: Health minister

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Sep 2021

Zayed thanked Germany at the press conference for donating 2.3 million AstraZeneca doses to Egypt

Hala Zayed & Frank Hartmann
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed with Germany’s Ambassador to Cairo Frank Hartmann in a joint press conference in Cairo on Thursday 23 September, 2021. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Health Ministry Facebook page.

Egypt is prepared to meet African countries' demand for coronavirus vaccines in about 45 days with the locally produced VACSERA-Sinovac, Egypt’s health ministry said on Thursday.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said Egypt currently produces two million doses of the WHO-approved VACSERA-Sinovac per week, adding that by the end of December Egypt will have manufactured 80 million doses.

A new production line in the VACSERA factory in Dokki will be inaugurated in five weeks, Zayed said, adding that it will raise the total production capacity to one million doses per day.

The Sinovac vaccine has been approved by 12 European countries so far, Zayed noted.

Zayed’s remarks came during a joint press conference on Thursday with the German Ambassador to Cairo Frank Hartmann, where means of bilateral cooperation to provide coronavirus vaccines were discussed.

Zayed thanked Germany at the press conference for donating 2.3 million AstraZeneca doses to Egypt as “a gift from the German government to the Egyptian people.”

Egypt-Germany medical cooperation

The AstraZeneca doses provided by Germany via COVAX arrived at the Cairo International Airport in two shipments: 1.5 million doses on Wednesday, and 850,560 doses on Monday.

“On behalf of the Egyptian government, I thank the ambassador and the German government for the vaccines,” Zayed said.

Hartmann noted that Berlin seeks to provide vaccines for all countries in need, especially Egypt which has strong relations with Germany in various fields.

“There is close and forked cooperation” in various medical fields, including in medical engineering and the supply of hospital equipment, Hartmann said.

We are always ready to cooperate with the Egyptian side, the German ambassador stated.

Zayed will visit Germany next week to discuss boosting cooperation with leading companies in the production of Covid-19 vaccines and the medical field in general, he added.

Hartmann said Egypt’s vaccination campaign is “very ambitious,” praising the government’s goal of vaccinating 50% of the population by the end of 2021.

The fourth wave in Egypt

Zayed said the peak of the fourth wave of the coronavirus will be felt in three or four weeks.

“It is possible to pass the fourth wave with the least number of infections if we intensify the vaccination campaign and inoculate half a million citizens daily,” Zayed said at the press conference on Thursday.

The fatality rate of the fourth wave is less than the previous waves, she noted, attributing the decline to the fact that more people are being vaccinated.

On Wednesday, Egypt registered 27 fatalities, which is the highest single-day toll of coronavirus deaths since 28 June, when 33 fatalities were reported. In May, during the peak of the third wave, Egypt was reporting more than 60 deaths per day.

As many as 3.4 million people working in the Ministry of Education have been vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine, said the minister, adding that 1.6 people working in the government were vaccinated as well.

Zayed revealed that there is a plan to vaccinate all the high school and preparatory school students in the upcoming period after the inauguration of the second production line of VACSERA.

According to the latest figures announced by Egyptian health officials last week, out of the 102-million population more than 13 million people have been vaccinated in Egypt.

In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Zayed said Egypt has recieved 33,678 million coronavirus vaccine doses since the beginning of the inoculation campaign launched earlier this year.

The doses are an amalgam of the Astrazeneca, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Sputnik, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Zayed said.

With the latest German shipment received later on Wednesday, Egypt has obtained around 35 million doses.

The country will receive its first shipment of Pfizer vaccine containing 612,000 jabs on Friday, as part of a total of 1.6 million doses, the health ministry spokesman in recent statements.

Egypt, whose daily-detected infections are on the rise since the beginning of August, has recorded a total of 298,988 infections, including 17,043 deaths and 251,902 recoveries. 

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