File Photo: Vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. AFP
“The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shipment is making its way to Egypt. These 1.6 million Pfizer vaccine doses are a gift from the US Government to the people of Egypt and are part of our commitment to defeat the pandemic,” the embassy said in a short statement on its official Facebook Page.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is administered in two shots 21 days apart, needs special refrigeration to store vials at the low temperatures of 2°C to 8°C.
Last week, Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed announced preparations for handling and distributing the Pfizer vaccine doses in a number of governorates, explaining that the government has secured a nationwide storage capacity of 4.3 million doses in 600 recently-purchased refrigerators.
The Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against the Alpha variant of coronavirus is 95 percent and 88 percent against the Delta variant.
Egypt is on the short list of partner countries to receive US vaccines against the coronavirus, according to a statement from the US embassy in June.
However, the country was not one of the 60 countries that received a shipment of 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in August.
Egypt has already obtained 40.4 million vaccine doses, including 2.3 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses that were donated by Germany last week.
Egypt has launched a mass vaccination campaign in January, expanding it in recent weeks to cover more than 13 million persons.
The country has administered a total of 16,223,309 vaccine doses nationwide at 1,100 centres, according to the World Health Organisation.
Egypt is currently administrating the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, the British-Swedish AstraZeneca, the Russian Sputnik V and the American Johnson & Johnson in the innoculation campaign.
Egypt's Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) is currently manufacturing the Sinovac vaccine to serve local and African needs.
The country has so far registered 303,783 coronavirus cases since the outbreak began in February 2020, including 17,294 deaths and 256,467 recoveries.