Egypt may provide coronavirus booster shots before year's end: Health minister

Ahram Online , Monday 6 Sep 2021

The third shot would be given to citizens who were inoculated at least 6-8 months ago

Hala Zayed
File Photo: Minister of Health Hala Zayed.

Egypt is currently considering giving booster shots of coronavirus vaccines to citizens who were inoculated at least 6-8 months ago. 

The third shot would be given before the end of the year, but the country is now prioritising those who haven’t received the first dose, Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a TV interview on Sunday.

Egypt has been working on increasing its capacity to manufacture local coronavirus vaccines. 

Egypt has produced two million shots of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine through the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) whose manufacturing capacity reaches up to 15 million doses monthly.

The manufacturing of the Sinovac doses is part of an agreement signed between VACSERA and the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.

Tens of shipments comprising millions of the Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have arrived in Egypt since the beginning of the country’s vaccination campaign in January.

The country targets to inoculate 40 million citizens by the end of 2021.

Zayed confirmed that 10 million Egyptians had been vaccinated against coronavirus, including three million fully vaccinated citizens.

Egypt, which has recorded a total of 289,684 cases and 16,776 deaths, is currently ramping up efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible as the peak of the fourth coronavirus wave is expected late in September and early October.

The Egyptian government has announced that vaccination against coronavirus will be mandatory in the education sector, but the health minister said, without determining a certain date, that the government will announce that public servants will not be allowed into workplaces without being vaccinated.

Zayed expects the completion of the education sector's vaccination in September, including of teachers, workers, and students at universities and high institutions, who number around 3.2 million individuals.

The obligatory vaccination in the education sector includes students, staff, employees and workers aged 18 or above who are involved in pre-university or university stages.

The step comes as the academic year is scheduled to begin in October with full in-person attendance.

"Teachers, workers, and students will not be allowed into universities unless they are vaccinated with at least the first jab," the health minister stressed.

As for pre-university education, Zayed added, approximately 800,000 teachers and employees out of a total of two million have registered to receive the vaccine.

"By the end of this week, up to 630,000 people will be vaccinated," the minister said.

“The government will announce at a certain time that public servants will not be allowed into workplaces without being vaccinated,” Zayed stated. 

She noted that around 1.5 million public employees out of 3.4 million have been vaccinated.

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