Egypt has thus far received 1.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines after a shipment of 854,400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been delivered as part of the COVAX scheme on Thursday morning.
The latest batch is part of a wider package comprising 40 million doses Egypt should be receiving as agreed upon with the COVAX, which is set to send the other batches consecutively.
COVAX, a global initiative led by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other European countries, aims to equally distribute coronavirus vaccines across the world.
Egyptian Minister of Health Hala Zayed thanked WHO and UNICEF for their “ongoing” support to Egypt’s plan to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Zayed stressed the importance of collaboration with partners in international agencies to curb the spread of the virus.
She added that the doses received on Thursday will contribute to the completion of the vaccination process targeting the most at-risk citizens, including the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
Egypt has been carrying out a mass vaccination campaign, allowing medical staffers, the elderly, and patients with chronic diseases to register online via a designated website to be inoculated.
The campaign was launched in February after the ministry had concluded the vaccination of medical workers at coronavirus isolation and triage hospitals almost a month earlier.
The campaign relies on the Chinese Sinopharm and the British-Swedish Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, both of which were granted emergency use authorisation by authorities earlier this year.
Egypt’s total supply of both vaccines has registered over 1.5 million doses, including 650,000 doses of Sinopharm and 904,400 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca.
The Sinopharm vaccine is administered in two doses three weeks apart, while the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is given three months after receiving the first jab.
The country aims to expand its vaccination rollout to include more categories, especially workers in the tourism and banking fields to guarantee stability in the economic sector.
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, civil society organisations, manufacturers, and others.
The establishment of the COVAX Facility represents a collective recognition of the need for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.