Egypt receives 300,000 additional doses of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine

Menna Alaa El-Din , Saturday 20 Mar 2021

The new batch is a gift from China meant to 'bolster bilateral cooperation in the fight against the pandemic'

Sinopharm vaccine
Sinopharm vaccine shipment arrives at Cairo International Aiirport on 20 March, 2021. (Courtesy of the health ministry Facebook page)

Egypt received 300,000 additional doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in the early hours of Saturday, bringing the total number of the doses Egypt has received since December to 650,000.

The health ministry said the new batch, received at Cairo International Airport, was a gift from China meant to "bolster bilateral cooperation in the fight against the pandemic."

The new batch will be tested in the laboratories of the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) before using it to inoculate priority groups and medical staff nationwide.

Egypt first received 50,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine as a gift from the UAE in December.

The authorities approved the emergency use of Sinopharm in early January.

Egypt received 300,000 doses of Sinopharm from China last month.

In January, the country also received 50,000 doses of the British-Swedish Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine after being approved for emergency use.

Egypt launched a nationwide immunisation programme in late January, starting with the medical staff, using the Sinopharm and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines.

In March, the health ministry began a wider rollout of the vaccination programme after concluding the vaccination of most of the country’s medical staff.

In late February, the ministry opened registration for vaccination for citizens above 18 years of age, with priority given to seior citizens and those with chronic diseases.

Up to 20,000 Egyptians register on a daily basis on the government's website to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, said Health Minister Hala Zayed on Wednesday.

Around 500,000 Egyptians are expected to have registered for vaccination by the end of March, she added.

The expansion in the vaccination campaign comes as the country pushes forward with efforts to secure vaccines for the 100-million-plus nation.

Egypt expects the arrival of five million doses of the Oxford AstraZenca vaccine by the end of March via the COVAX alliance.

Another batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, three million doses, is expected to be received in May.

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