The first vaccinations against coronavirus started today, 24 January, at Abu-Khalifa Hospital in the town of Ismailia in theSuez Canal region. The first vaccine injections were administered to the medical team there. Health Minister Hala Zayed attended the event at Abu-Khalifa’s which served as Egypt’s first coronavirus isolation hospital following the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020.
Egypt’s Ministry of Health has decided that medical teams would be the first to be vaccinated in Egypt, given that they are among the groups at highest risk.
Vaccination will proceed to other medical staff in Egypt, with priority given to staff of isolation, fevers, chest, and screening hospitals. Following will be kidney failure and cancer patients; then the elderly.
According to Health Ministry figures, the medical teams targeted for vaccination in chest and fevers hospitals alone amount to 207,000 individuals. This includes doctors, nurses, administrators, and workers.
The Health Ministry has prepared, in coordination with the Interior Ministry and the Local Development Ministry, 34 centres for the delivery of vaccines to the public.
Egypt is currently using China’s Sinopharma coronavirus vaccine. Last week, Minister Zayed inaugurated the National Complex for Vaccines and Serums, which aims to provide safe storage for vaccines according to international standards.
The first batch of Sinopharm’s vaccine, comprising 50,000 dozes, was received by Egypt in late December and approved by the Health Ministry in early January. Dr Zayed explained that the effectiveness of Sinopharm was proved in clinical trials to be 89 per cent in generating antibodies, 99 per cent in protection against infection, and 100 per cent in guarding against severe symptoms in case of infection. These figures, she said, applied to adults above 18.
The Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement, Medical Supply and the Management of Medical Technology (UPA) announced it had signed a deal with the R-Pharma and Serum Institute to purchase 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Egypt is also in talks for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Egypt has also separately contacted the vaccine alliance GAVI to secure 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccine for 20 million citizens. The first batch of the GAVI vaccine will arrive sometime in the first quarter of 2021, while other batches will arrive later throughout the year.
Egypt entered the second wave of the pandemic last December.
24 January 2021