Egyptian Health Ministry officials with Deputy Chief of US diplomatic Mission in Cairo Nicole Shampine at Cairo International in the reception of Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine on Thursday (Photo: Egypt's Health Ministry)
This is the first of five shipments of the Pfizer vaccine totaling five million doses that Egypt is to receive from the United States according to the Health Ministry.
Egypt is on the shortlist of partner countries to receive US vaccines against the coronavirus, according to the US Embassy.
Deputy Chief of US diplomatic Mission in Cairo Nicole Shampine reasserted the US administration’s constant support of Egypt till the end of the pandemic.
According to the Egyptian health ministry, the Pfizer vaccine received emergency use approval from both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA).
The ministry added that this shipment will undergo tests and analysis in EDA labs within 14 days before its distribution to the 1,100 vaccination centres across the country.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is administered in two shots 21 days apart, needs special refrigeration to store vials between 2°C to 8°C. It is undergoing authorization in the US and other countries for use in children aged 12-17.
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.
Egypt has already obtained 40.4 million vaccine doses, including 2.3 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses that were donated by Germany last week.
Egypt 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, according to the WHO.
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 inoculation campaign.
Egypt's Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) is currently manufacturing the Sinovac vaccine to serve local and African needs.
The Egyptian government has already set a goal of vaccinating 40 million people by the end of 2021.