Egypt's health minister Hala Zayed
Egypt is to receive, in the upcoming month, 500,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine under the procured 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the health ministry announced on Tuesday.
According to an official statement by the ministry, Health Minister Hala Zayed discussed with Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang the means of cooperating between the two countries in the fields of the provision of vaccines.
They discussed readiness by both Egyptian and Chinese sides to sign a joint manufacturing deal between Cairo and Chinese Sinovac in the next few days to manufacture the Chinese company’s COVID-19 vaccine through state-owned vaccine maker Vacsera.
Zayed and the Chinese ambassador also mulled setting an activation mechanism for a QR code between the two countries, which will provide information on PCR tests, antibodies and the vaccination.
A Cabinet approval on the agreement would contribute in facilitating travel between Egypt and China and revitalising trade exchange between the two countries, Zayed said.
Egypt began vaccinating priority groups in March under a wider rollout of the vaccination program after it began the vaccination of the country’s medical staff in January.
The government is seeking to secure vaccines for the over populous nation as it continues to expand its immunisation program.
Egypt has already received around 650,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in the past few months, which it currently administers with the AstraZeneca jab.
The country has so far received over 1.5 million doses of jabs, with more deliveries expected in the upcoming months.
Egypt also has their eye on locally manufacturing the Chinese Sinovac vaccine through Vacsera, which officials say can produce 80 million doses annually.
Some of the doses will be exported to Africa.
Around 1.1 million citizens from all categories have registered online to receive the vaccine, with the number of those vaccinated estimated at over 320,000 since the launch of the immunisation program, according to health ministry officials earlier this month.