Booster shots to be high priority for healthcare workers, elderly and those with chronic diseases: Tag El-din

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Oct 2021

Egypt’s presidential adviser for health affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din said on Saturday the booster shot of coronavirus vaccines is recommended for people who had their two doses 9 months ago, with priority to be given for healthcare workers, elderly and people with chronic diseases.

Awad Tag El-Din
Presidential Advisor for Health Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din (file photo)

"Anyone who received [the initial shots of ] coronavirus vaccination 9 months ago or more may need a booster shot, or let us say a new inculcation to increase their immunity," Tag El-Din said in a TV comment on Saturday evening.

Egypt started vaccinating healthcare workers in late January, before the campaign was expanded to include seniors and patients with chronic disease in March and afterwards to other categories.

Akin to flu vaccine, coronvirus jabs offer protection against the contagion for 6-9 months, the presidential adviser clarified.

Egypt is administrating the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, the British-Swedish AstraZeneca, the Russian Sputnik V, and the American Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Minister of Health Hala Zayed said in September that the third shots may be given before the end of the year as the country is focusing currently on vaccinating those who have not received the first dose.

Tag El-Din said the booster jabs could be any vaccine approved in Egypt, but did not specify whether or not they would match the initial two doses.

Egypt has so far received 60-70 million doses since the vaccination campaign started earlier this year, with the total of fully vaccinated people set to reach 20 million this week, the presidential adviser said.

"By the end of this year, the state will have over 40 or 45 million vaccinated citizens," he noted.

On Saturday, Zayed stated that Egypt's stock from coronavirus vaccine doses will increase to 70 million doses by the end of the month

Tag-El-Din said all workers at the educational sector have been vaccinated, in addition to pre-university students.

The government has mandated coronavirus vaccination for all teaching staff, employees, and workers, as well as students who are 18 years or older at lower and higher education institutions.

He noted that the country will start soon inoculate university students who are under the age of 18, while the decision is still pending for school students under 18.

"Not all ages under 18 are yet approved to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, nor are all vaccines approved for children" he said, adding" we are now studying the situation and [observe] the vaccines that are safe for childhood ages."

In early October, the health minister said the government may soon vaccinate high school students with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as the government studies lowering the 18-year age limit for COVID-19 immunisation.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, administered in two shots 21 days apart, is authorised in the US and other countries for use in children aged 12-17.

Egypt has so far received over 2.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the US via COVAX.

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