Vaccine roll-out continues

Reem Leila , Friday 26 Nov 2021

Al-Ahram Weekly reports on government efforts to vaccinate 40 per cent of the population by the end of the year.

Vaccine roll-out continues
Vaccine roll-out continues

The Ministry of Health and Population is considering providing booster jabs against COVID-19 during the first quarter of 2022.

For the time being, however, its focus is on vaccinating those who have yet to receive jabs, with the goal of ensuring 40 million citizens have been vaccinated by the end of this year.

Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, official spokesman at the Ministry of Health, reported that 27.5 million people had received a first dose of vaccine while 14.5 million have had two jabs.

Abdel-Ghaffar said that in addition to 1,200 vaccination centres nationwide, the 14 vaccination points set up inside underground stations had vaccinated 500,000 people, and the ministry is in the process of establishing vaccination points in shopping malls.

Medical staff, the elderly and people with chronic diseases will be prioritized for booster jabs next year, said Abdel-Ghaffar, with a minimum of nine months having passed between the second and third doses.

Manal Salama, coordinator of the Health Ministry’s Scientific Committee for Combating COVID-19, explained that the third dose acts to boost the body’s immunity system against the virus, and that the jabs will become available as soon as the ministry meets its target of vaccinating 40 per cent of Egypt’s 104 million population.

Salama said the ministry would not be prioritising people who have been infected with the virus but who had received two doses of vaccine since they will already have strong immunity against COVID-19. She added that the only restriction on third doses being administered is likely to be “the availability of the type of vaccine which citizens received in their first two doses”.

Egypt is producing two million doses of Sinovac-VACSERA vaccine each week, in cooperation with the Chinese government, and the Health Ministry expects to receive a further 26 million doses within weeks, added Salama.

Mohamed Hassani, assistant minister of public health initiatives, points out that the vaccine rollout is being hampered not by the availability of doses but by continuing vaccine hesitancy among some sections of the public.

The ministry, says Hassani, is currently focused on raising people’s awareness of the importance of being inoculated through several health campaigns.

In recent weeks the Ministry of Health and Population has been cooperating with the Ministry of Education to roll out vaccines to pupils aged between 15 and 18 years. According to Ministry of Education Spokesperson Mahmoud Hassouna, eight million doses are required to vaccinate all students within the age range, and the ministry expects to meet this target by the end of the current semester.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 25 November, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

Short link: