Close to 150,000 Egyptians injected with coronavirus vaccines so far: Health minister

Ahram Online , Sunday 4 Apr 2021

The country looks to ramp up its vaccination rollout to include more categories, especially tourism workers with fast approaching Summer season, during which tourists flock to Egypt

Egypt’s Minister of Health Hala Zayed
Egypt’s Minister of Health Hala Zayed

A total of 148,987 Egyptian citizens have been so far vaccinated against coronavirus, the Egyptian Minister of Health Hala Zayed said, almost a month after the country began vaccinating priority groups in March.

The country looks to ramp up its vaccination rollout to include more categories, the minister told a virtual follow-up meeting held on Saturday evening with the directors of vaccination centres nationwide, the  ministry spokesman said in a statement on Sunday.

Minister Zayed ordered the doubling of the medical teams' staffers at the vaccination centres nationwide and increasing daily working hours at these centres to start at 9am until 9pm.

She directed to increase the number of vaccination centres nationwide from 139 to 399, capping the number of citizens received at each centre to 100 daily.

Egypt has been carrying out a mass vaccination campaign, allowing priority groups -- which include medical staffers, the elderly, and patients with chronic diseases -- to register online via a designated website to be inoculated.

The campaign started in March after the health ministry had concluded the vaccination of medical workers at coronavirus isolation and triage hospitals.

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.

Zayed added that the ministry seeks to expand its vaccination rollout to include tourism workers as the country is rolling into Summer, during which tourists flock to Egypt.

The move aims to promote tourism amid the country's keenness to balance out the production wheel and the anti-covid-19 safety measures as part of its plan to coexist with the virus, according to the health minister.

Egypt has thus far received over 1.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines after a shipment of 854,400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been delivered on Thursday as part of the COVAX scheme.

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.

During Saturday's meeting, Zayed said Egypt will be having a total of 4.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX agreement by the end of May.

Concerning the Chinese vaccines, which Egypt has so received 680,000 doses of, the minister noted that a new batch of the Chinese vaccine is expected to arrive in Egypt within weeks.

Egypt has a total of 204,256 coronavirus infections, including 12,123 deaths and 155,886 recoveries.  

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