Elderly people, wearing protective face masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, wait to receive a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine at a health centre, in Qatameya, Cairo, Egypt March 22, 2021. REUTERS
Egypt has increased the number of COVID-19 vaccination centres nationwide to 138, health minister Hala Zayed announced on Tuesday under a wider rollout of its immunisation program.
According to an official statement, Zayed announced the increase of the centers to 138 from a previous 40 designated centres.
Vaccination would begin in the additional centres starting Wednesday, she added.
The announcement comes few days after Egypt received on Saturday 300,000 additional doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, bringing the total number of the doses received since December to 650,000.
Egypt currently administers doses of the Chinese vaccine and the British-Swedish Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, both of which were granted emergency use authorisation by authorities earlier this year.
The Chinese vaccine is taken in two doses 21 days apart while, AstraZeneca’s injections are administered in two shots three months apart.
Egypt launched a nationwide immunisation programme in late January, starting with the medical staff, using the two authorised vaccines.
It later began a wider rollout of the vaccination programme earlier this month after concluding the vaccination of most of the country’s medical staff.
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.
It is also in talks with the Chinese government to start manufacturing the Chinese coronavirus vaccine “Sinovac ” inside Egypt, Zayed said on Monday, as Egypt eyes becoming a vaccine manufactuing hub in Middle East and Africa.