Workers offload pallets containing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine "Sinopharm" doses as they arrive from China at Cairo International Airport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Cairo, Egypt February 23, 2021. REUTERS
Egypt received a second shipment carrying 300,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine at Cairo Airport earlier on Tuesday as a gift from Beijing, the Egyptian Ministry of Health announced.
The step “comes within the framework of enhancing means of cooperation between the two brotherly countries to combat the novel coronavirus,” Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.
The vaccine, which is 86 percent effective against the coronavirus, 99 percent effective in producing antibodies, and 100 percent effective in preventing moderate and severe symptoms, will be analysed by the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) before it can be used in the vaccination campaign.
Egypt has vaccinated hundreds of frontline healthcare workers nationwide as a first step in the country’s vaccination campaign, which it was kicked off in mid-January, using the Chinese vaccine.
Megahed said Egypt is the first country to go about vaccinating medical workers in Africa, noting that other segments in the country’s vaccination priority list such as chronic disease patients and seniors will be allowed to register for the vaccines through the vaccination website, which was launched recently by the ministry.
The country’s vaccination priority list starts with frontline healthcare workers at isolation, fever, chest, and screening hospitals, followed by kidney failure and cancer patients, then the elderly.
Egypt received the first batch of 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine in December as a gift from the UAE, and the same quantities of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine in January.
The EDA approved the emergency use of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine in January.
Tuesday’s shipment, received by senior Health Ministry officials and the Chinese Ambassador in Cairo, Liao Liqiang, is the second of the Chinese vaccine and the third in general.
Egypt is expecting a total of 40 million vaccine doses from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI), an international scheme aiming to ensure equal access to new and underused vaccines during the course of 2021.