Egypt’s Health Ministry on Saturday approved Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the country, reported Africa News.
“The Egyptian pharmaceutical authority approved on Saturday the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine,” Health Minister Hala Zayed told reporters.
The first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine was delivered in December. The batch was made to go through four tests conducted by the EDA and they all proved the safety of the vaccine. More doses of the vaccine are expected to be delivered this month. Each batch of the vaccine contains 50,000 doses.
“The second shipment of this vaccine is due to arrive in the second or third week of January, and as soon as it arrives, we will start vaccinations,” the health minister said.
Zayed said the government is planning to buy 40 million doses of the Sinopharm jab. The health ministry has announced that the country’s medical workers will be the first to receive the vaccine. The vaccine would be distributed to medical staff in the second week of January.
The Sinopharm vaccine has been approved for emergency use in a number of countries and the company is still conducting late-stage clinical trials in 10 other nations.
Egypt has recorded more than 140,000 COVID-19 cases, including 7,800 deaths. The country has witnessed a rise in infections in recent weeks amid warnings by the government about a second wave. The number of infections spiked rapidly in late 2020, from about 100 new cases confirmed a day in October to some 1,400 daily cases currently.
Zayed said Egypt will also receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the third or fourth week of January, adding that a contract “was being finalized”.
She said that negotiations with Pfizer are also underway. The Egypt government has also separately contracted with the vaccine alliance, GAVI, to secure 40 million doses of one of the coronavirus vaccines for 20 million citizens.