File Photo: People are pictured wearing protective face masks, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt has received on Thursday the first batches of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine at Cairo Airport later in the day, the Egyptian Ministry of Health said.
Egypt’s Minister of Health Hala Zayed said during a press conference at Cairo Airport that the new Chinese vaccine will be available for citizens 100% free of charge, as part of the directives of the political leadership.
Zayed added that the coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm has been provided by the United Arab Emirates and has an 96% to 100% efficacy in mild and severe cases.
Zayed has announced earlier that the priority in distributing the coronavirus vaccine would be for medical staff, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly.
According to the COVID-19 Resilience Ranking Report issued by Bloomberg in November, Egypt is one of the highest-ranking countries in signing vaccine supply agreements.
On Tuesday, Egypt submitted an application form to obtain COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, a scheme led by the GAVI alliance designed to secure rapid and fair global access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad said on TV on 2 December that Egypt is expected to receive doses of one of GAVI’s coronavirus vaccines in May 2021.
The health minister stated earlier that Egypt has reserved doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by the US pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, which would cover up to 20 percent of the country’s needs.
Zayed emphasised that Egypt has also secured doses of a promising British vaccine developed by Oxford University that will meet around 30 percent of the country’s needs.
In September, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund agreed to supply 25 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine to Egypt via Pharco, one of Russia’s leading pharmaceutical groups.
Egypt has been recently witnessing a rebound in coronavirus daily cases.
For the first time in almost five months, starting 2 December, Egypt’s daily infections have been exceeding the 400-patient mark.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s Health Ministry reported 421 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total infection tally to 119,702 — including 104,074 recoveries — since the outbreak began in February.