AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine vial is seen at a NHS mass coronavirus vaccination centre in the Excel Centre in London, Britain January 11, 2021. Reuters
Egypt received on Sunday the first batch of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on board of an Emirates Airline plane coming from India, Egypt's Unified Procurement Authority (UPA) said in a statement.
The batch, which consists of 50,000 doses, is part of a UPA's agreement that includes 20 million doses of the British AstraZeneca's vaccine – which is developed by India's R-pharma and Serum Institute following their deal to transfer the vaccine manufacturing technology from the British company.
This is the second covid-19 vaccine to be approved on an emergency basis in Egypt following the authorisation of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine earlier this month.
The AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses administered 21 days apart akin to other vaccines, but without the need for ultra-cold storage, a feature that makes it easier to roll out in hot countries and remote locations.
"The Egyptian Drug Authority approved yesterday the emergency use of the Covishield vaccines, produced by the Indian Serum institute, which contracted to transfer the vaccine manufacturing technology from the British company, AstraZeneca," EDA's Spokesperson Ali Al-Ghamrawy said in a statement on Sunday.
He added that the vaccine underwent the necessary evaluation processes in the departments and laboratories of the Drug Authority as per the global and local rules to ensure the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccine.
The EDA is currently studying and evaluating other vaccines, the statement added.
Egypt has vaccinated hundreds of medical staffers nationwide as a first step in the country's vaccination campaign, which kicked off last Sunday.
Egypt has received a 50,000-dose batch from Sinopharm vaccines in December.
The country's vaccination priority list starts with the frontline healthcare workers at the isolation, fever, chest and screening hospitals, followed by kidney failure and cancer patients, then the elderly.