Egypt receives second shipment of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine

Delivery comprises 1.6 million doses of Pfizer's shot, supplied through Gavi's Covax programme

A worker at Cairo International Airport unloads a shipment of 1.6 million doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Ministry of Health & Population, Egypt
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Egypt has received its second shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, the country’s Health Minister Dr Hala Zayed announced.

The second shipment on Saturday night comprised 1.6 million doses supplied to Egypt through the Covax programme, which is managed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organisation.

Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed confirmed that the newly arrived doses will undergo tests by the Egyptian Drug Authority before they are distributed to the 1,100 vaccination centres in the country’s 27 provinces.

Mr Megahed said the testing phase will take 14 days, after which Egyptians can expect to find the shot at their nearest vaccination centre.

Saturday’s shipment is the second Pfizer-BioNTech shipment to arrive in Egypt – the first landed on September 30.

The first batch of the two-dose vaccine was also made up of approximately 1.6 million doses and supplied through Covax as well.

Egypt expects to receive a total of five million Pfizer doses as a gift from the US, Ms Zayed said this month. Another shipment of Pfizer is due to arrive before year’s end, she said.

The Health Ministry also received 5.4 million doses of China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines at the end of last month.

Ms Zayed, at a Cabinet meeting on Saturday, said that Egypt expects to have 70 million doses of various Covid-19 vaccines before the end of October.

The country is in possession of around 60 million doses and it remains to be seen whether the remaining 10 million doses will be imported from abroad or produced locally.

A televised statement on Saturday from the country’s Presidential Health Adviser Dr Mohamed Tag El Din revealed that 17 million to 18 million people in the country have been vaccinated so far. The government’s target is to have 40 million people fully vaccinated by the end of the year, he said.

In a bid to bolster the vaccination rate, Ms Zayed said on Saturday that new vaccination centres would be set up at establishments frequented by the populace such as train and metro stations, mosques and churches.

The Health Ministry on Saturday said 874 new Covid-19 infections were recorded, bringing the official tally to 317,585 infections since March 2020. Forty two new deaths were announced, bringing the nation’s death toll to 17,926.

After decreasing significantly in July, the country’s Covid-19 numbers have been increasing since, prompting many health officials to warn that the country is heading into its fourth wave.

Ms Zayed told the Cabinet meeting that Egypt plans to start exporting its locally made vaccines.

Updated: October 17, 2021, 1:09 PM