A number of foreign ambassadors in Cairo hailed on Saturday the arrival of the third coronavirus vaccine shipment to Egypt through COVAX on 13 August, a statement by COVAX said.
Their remarks came in response to the arrival of 1.76 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Egypt on Friday night. The shipment is the third of several shipments of a total of 40 million doses to be provided to Egypt under the COVAX initiative.
Ambassador of Germany to Egypt Frank Hartmann said on Saturday that "seeing this new vaccine delivery arrive in Egypt [through COVAX] with many more to come is a great joint success.”
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.
COVAX has so far shipped over 188 million COVID-19 vaccines to 138 participants around the world.
“COVAX is not a one-off project, it is an ongoing commitment. Germany as ACT-A's second-largest donor will spare no efforts to further support and advance this powerful multilateral instrument. Only together can we assure a long-term success in our fight against the global pandemic," Hartmann said.
British Ambassador to Egypt Geoffrey Adams said in the statement that he is proud that the UK is one of the largest donors to COVAX.
“The arrival of this third COVAX shipment comes at a crucial time, with the pandemic continuing to present challenges as new variants emerge worldwide. I am proud that the UK is one of the largest donors to COVAX, which is providing vaccines to protect millions of Egyptians. The UK is committed to ensuring equitable vaccine access to all,” Adams said.
The US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan R. Cohen said that his country as a partner of Egypt in the fight against COVID-19, and the largest donor to COVAX worldwide, “welcomes the 13 August arrival of another 1.76 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to protect the Egyptian people.”
Ambassador Christian Berger, head of the European Union delegation to Egypt said that Friday’s COVAX shipment of vaccines “offers additional access to vaccines for Egyptian citizens.”
“Team Europe is providing €2.47 billion in support of the COVAX facility globally. We will come out stronger together with our partners in Egypt," Berger stated.
Ambassador of Japan to Egypt Noke Masaki said he is delighted to see the arrival of additional doses through the COVAX facility, especially as Japan co-hosted with GAVI the Summit on COVAX in June and announced its contribution of $1 billion.
“I also hope to see positive impacts of our support through UNICEF for cold storages for vaccines to 760 posts across Egypt by the end of August,” Masaki said.
Last month, Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed said that Egypt “is cooperating with UNICEF” to provide the country with 63 vaccine storage refrigerators free of charge. The refrigerators, with a total storage capacity of around 619,000 doses, will be used to store the Pfizer vaccine doses scheduled to arrive in Egypt within days, the minister said.
Egypt has recently received millions of doses of the Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
More vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Egypt this month as the country seeks to expand the inoculation process which started earlier this year.
“We need to reach 70 percent of the population vaccinated as a critical milestone to halt the pandemic. We as WHO with our partners, including civil society, call for equity of vaccine allocation leaving no one behind, fully supporting the government of Egypt’s efforts for vaccine availability and production to cover all the people living in Egypt and beyond,” Naeema Al-Gasseer, the WHO representative in Egypt, said.
Al-Gasseer was referring to the fact that Egypt is among the few countries where vaccination is offered not only to Egyptians, but to all people in Egypt, including refugees and migrants.
Jeremy Hopkins, the UNICEF representative in Egypt, said the AstraZeneca shipment on Friday “is important for Egypt as we increase momentum for the deployment of the vaccine nationwide,” accompanied by an increase in demand from people in Egypt, which is “very encouraging.”
Egypt has scaled up its vaccination rates in the past months, opening hundreds of vaccination centres across the country that have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of people per day.
On Thursday, Zayed stated that on that day as many as 100,224 people were inoculated across Egypt.
The Canadian Ambassador in Egypt Louis Dumas stated that “no one is safe until we are all safe,” stressing that Canada is committed to doing its part to support equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines around the world, including Egypt.
According to the WHO, until 10 August, a total of 5.7 million vaccine doses had been administered in Egypt, with 1.8 million fully vaccinated individuals and 3.8 million people vaccinated with at least one dose.
Egypt has reported 285,158 coronavirus cases thus far, including 233,772 recoveries and 16,609 deaths.