The Egyptian health ministry is planning to ensure that 100 percent of employees in the country’s education sector are vaccinated against the coronavirus by October, Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Wednesday.
This is part of the state’s plan to vaccinate teaching staff, other workers, and students above 18 years old in the pre-university and higher education sectors before the upcoming school year.
The new academic year is scheduled to start on 9 October for schools and universities.
In a Cabinet meeting today, Zayed said that all workers in the education sector will have received their first vaccine shot by 15 September, a Cabinet statement read.
The country’s vaccination campaign has so far used different vaccine types, including the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, which require two doses given three weeks apart.
Minister Zayed said that there is ongoing coordination with the Ministry of Higher Education to provide a database of 2.2 million university students so that they can receive their first coronavirus shot and obtain vaccination certificates with QR codes.
During the meeting, Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said that 289 vaccination centres have been set up at 59 public, private, non-profit and foreign universities nationwide.
So far, 52 universities – which is 88 percent of the country’s universities – have received their first shipment of the vaccine doses, Abdel-Ghaffar said. The remaining universities will receive their doses by Wednesday and Thursday, he added.
Until 31 August, around 86,200 doses had reached universities, including 57,700 first doses and 28,600 second doses, Abdel-Ghaffar added.
Regarding the government’s plan to vaccinate workers at the state’s administrative apparatus, the health minister said that around 1.6 million employees have been vaccinated, including around 44,000 on Tuesday alone.
In mid-August, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered the drawing up of an executive plan to vaccinate teaching staff, workers, and students at universities and academic institutes before the beginning of the academic year.
The Cabinet has said that coronavirus vaccinations will be mandatory for students, staff, employees and workers aged 18 or above who are involved in pre-university or university sectors in the country.
The state’s plan to vaccinate students and teachers comes in parallel with the national efforts to locally manufacture millions of vaccine doses.
In August, the health ministry announced sending the first 1 million doses of its locally-produced Sinovac/VACSERA vaccine to vaccination centres after the completion of the required evaluation tests.
The country is also in the final stages of manufacturing and evaluating 15 million doses of the vaccine, which represent VACSERA’s production capacity per month, the ministry said in a statement.
Vaccinating teaching staff, students
In a meeting with Health Minister Zayed on 16 August, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly noted that the government is prioritising the vaccination of teaching staff, workers, and students at universities and institutes.
Zayed said that vaccination facilities at university hospitals originally allocated to vaccinate medical staff will be committed to vaccinating university employees as well, a Cabinet statement read.
Each institute and research centre will also establish its own vaccination clinic, Zayed added.
The health ministry will provide these vaccination facilities with medical staff, devices required for vaccination registration, and sufficient vaccine shots, Zayed said.
These vaccination facilities will be committed to administering the second shot to higher education staff before the beginning of the academic year, the minister added.
University hospitals will be tasked with vaccinating higher education students during the medical examination ahead of their first school year, according to Zayed.
These hospitals will also be assigned to schedule the vaccination of university students in higher grades, she noted.
School staff will be able to register on the health ministry’s vaccination website under a new category named “workers at the education ministry,” the statement cited Zayed as saying.
The Ministry of Education will instruct its employees to register on the website before 7 September, Zayed said. The health ministry will then send them messages with the dates to receive the two vaccine shots before the beginning of the academic year.