Image credit: Alena Shekhovtcova
The Egyptian Ministry of Health launched its COVID-19 vaccine registration website on the 15th of this month and will begin administering vaccinations today, Sunday the 24th of January.
Egypt, the most populated country in the MENA region, received its first batch of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccines in December, aiming to vaccinate 207,000 of the country’s most vulnerable and high-risk individuals.
After unveiling several development projects in Port Said on Saturday, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi stated to reporters, “We are starting a vaccination initiative tomorrow, beginning with healthcare workers, followed by those suffering from chronic diseases, and later the elderly”.
The emergency Sinopharm jab was tested and approved by the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) and has been proven to be 70% effective against the virus. It will be administered to medical staff on the front line at isolation hospitals, fever and chest hospitals, and the most susceptible patients. Each person will receive two shots, 21 days apart.
Egypt has also signed a deal with GAVI to secure 40 million doses of vaccines for 20 million Egyptian citizens to arrive in the first quarter of 2021. Another contract with the R-Pharma and Serum institute will see 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine available in the near future.
It is unclear whether or not the immunization program would be free for all, as several officials have implied that the state would only support those considered less financially-capable.
Egypt entered the second wave of the pandemic in the last week of December, recording twice the number of daily infections. However, after implementing a fine on not adhering to wearing masks, cases have dropped again in the last few days, reporting fewer than 1,000 daily infections.