The Ministry of Health has announced that vaccinations against COVID-19 are finally available. Registration for the vaccine is now open for elderly and at-risk individuals (i.e. those with chronic health issues and threatening conditions). By visiting the Ministry of Health’s official website, citizens who meet the criteria will be able to register to receive the vaccine. The website also offers information about the vaccine and about the virus itself, allowing citizens to better understand the nature of the vaccinations.
Eligible citizens are asked to provide three medical reports, which the website uses to determine their health status automatically. After successfully registering, citizens will receive a text message with the time and location to receive the vaccine, which is offered as a course of two shots taken 21 days apart.
Registration opened after the conclusion of a vaccination campaign conducted by the ministry for all medical staff, where vaccinations were offered for free. The programme has successfully allowed the vaccination of medical staff in up to 22 hospitals. Since then, Egypt has received new shipments of the vaccine, including 300,000 free doses from the Chinese government as a goodwill gesture last week. These will be held especially for priority groups, according to Ahram. The vaccine, released by the Chinese company, Sinopharm, has been deemed completely safe and about 86% effective.
While shots are offered without charge for medical personnel, the two required injections are priced at 200 LE for the general public. That being said, the ministry is attempting to provide free access to vaccines for the needy of the state, linking the website to the programme of social protection, Takaful and Karama.
In the time, Egypt is expected to start using Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, which were shipped to the country in January 2021, in tandem with Sinopharm’s vaccinations. Egypt has also reserved 10 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, hoping to eventually provide vaccinations for all Egyptian citizens.
The Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, stated on February 23rd that Egypt has a target of vaccinating at least 40 million people over 40 years of age by the end of 2021. Thus, as the vaccine’s availability increases, more categories of citizens will receive it.
Zayed has shown pride in Egypt’s efforts, stating in a press conference, “Egypt is the first African country to receive a Coronavirus vaccine and the first to conduct nationwide vaccinations in Africa.” She has also expressed gratitude to the Chinese shipment of the vaccine, stating that it will only strengthen the good relations between Egypt and China.
With the plan currently set by the ministry, vaccines will hopefully be available for the majority of Egyptian people by the end of 2021.