Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delivers a speech during the first virtual meeting of the International Forum on Vaccine Cooperation. Egyptian foreign ministry
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Thursday called on countries to refrain from applying discriminatory measures on international travel, based on unverified assumptions about the effectiveness of some coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
Shoukry’s remarks came in a speech during the first virtual meeting of the International Forum on Vaccine Cooperation organised and chaired by China.
Shoukry warned against these unverified assumptions, especially in terms of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation, a statement by the foreign ministry read.
The top Egyptian diplomat in his speech urged mobilising further resources required to support the national health systems in Africa, as it continues to be among the most afflicted areas given the structural challenges it faces in providing medical services to citizens and dealing with other pandemics and diseases.
Shoukry called for the countries manufacturing coronavirus vaccines to enhance their support to the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
The FM affirmed that Egypt will continue to effectively participate in all international efforts to enhance the international health system in a way that ensures that countries most vulnerable to diseases are prepared to deal with international health challenges.
During the speech, Shoukry underlined the importance of securing sufficient and sustainable financial support to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX).
This support is required to accelerate coronavirus vaccination rates in developing countries and support the local manufacturing capabilities of these states so that they expand local vaccine production and ease the burden the international manufacturers shoulder due to the growing international demand for vaccines, Shoukry explained.
He also called for waiving the intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines to achieve this goal.
Shoukry highlighted the deep socio-economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, especially on middle and low-income countries, warning that the current situation threatens to undermine the development gains achieved by these countries during the past decade.
The Egyptian FM warned that the gap of vaccination rates between developing and developed countries is still widening.
Egypt has repeatedly called on the international community to ensure the just distribution of coronavirus vaccine doses worldwide and secure the African states’ chance to obtain doses in a fair way.
Participating via video conference in an African Union (AU) summit in February, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for securing the funding and logistical support for African nations to tackle the pandemic’s economic, social, and health repercussions.
Egypt has also started the local production of vaccine doses, starting with Chinese Sinovac’s vaccine, to cover the country’s local demands and also export doses to Africa.
The Egyptian national campain to vaccinate the population against the coronavirus so far uses the Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines as well as the British AstraZeneca and Russian Sputnik V vaccines.
Early in July, WHO urged countries to recognize any COVID-19 vaccines it has authorized for emergency use, a move that could challenge Western countries to accept the two Chinese vaccines.