Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Tuesday that more than 13 million citizens have received the first shot.
At the end of September, the health ministry recorded an increase in vaccination turnout of nearly 18.4 percent compared to the preceding months, Zayed said at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The country’s vaccination campaign, which started earlier this year for those aged 18 and above, has recently shifted into high gears to cover students and staff in the educational sector, in addition to all public employees.
State employees who are not vaccinated will not be allowed into workplaces unless they are jabbed with at least one dose or provide proof of negative COVID-19 testing more than once a week.
In preparation for the start of the new academic year in Egypt, authorities have increased the number of youth centres where immediate vaccinations are provided for university students without prior online registration. The centres have been increased to 240 countrywide, according to Zayed.
Safe academic year
The government seeks to guarantee a safe academic year for all students and staff amid the fourth wave of the pandemic, particularly with the return of in-person classes at schools and universities after a year-and-a-half of the virtual education system.
Hala Zayed said the health ministry is coordinating with the education and higher education ministries regarding preventative measures in the coming academic year.
The measures, she noted, include raising health awareness for students and education sector staffers in order to maintain physical distancing, use personal kits, conduct periodic sterilisation, and make all medical supplies available, in addition to the means of handling any suspected case.
Up to 70 percent of school staffers nationwide have already received the vaccine, while the rate at universities has reached 90 percent, according to previous statements by Zayed.
Zayed also has said that around 35 percent of university students have also received jabs.
During today's cabinet meeting, Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said that there is a plan for vaccinating students – especially those from villages who failed to receive any shot during the summer break – during the first days of the academic year.
It is not yet clear whether those under 18 will be included in the country's vaccination drive.
Egypt has so far obtained 60 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, the British-Swedish AstraZeneca, the Russian Sputnik V, the American Johnson & Johnson, and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Zayed noted.
The country will release an additional 7 million doses of the locally made Sinovac/VACSERA vaccine for public use this week, said Zayed.
Egypt is planning to manufacture 40 million doses of the Chinese vaccine by the end of the year at VACSERA factories to meet local and regional needs.