Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry during his participation via video-conference in the first meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation on August 5, 2021. Press Photo
CAIRO – 5 August 2021: Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry stressed Thursday that "countries must cease applying discriminatory rules against international travel based on unverified assumptions about the effectiveness of certain vaccines, precisely those endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO)."
That was during his participation via video-conference in the first meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation chaired by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
In his speech, Minister Shokry pointed out to the vaccination gap between developing and developed countries, and that is still widening. He noted that the pandemic is not just a health crisis given its deep social and economic impact, particularly on the low-income and middle-income countries. "As a consequence, the current status quo puts the developmental gains achieved by those countries over the past decade in jeopardy," Shokry asserted, according to the press statement issued by the ministry.
The minister of foreign affairs underscored the salience of securing financial support that is both sufficient and sustainable to COVAX in order to accelerate vaccination rates in developing countries.
And, to also reinforce local manufacturing capabilities in such states to expand their production of vaccines, alleviating pressure on international manufacturers in the face of increasing international demand. In that context, the minister suggested giving up intellectual property rights expressing Egypt's appreciation for China with that regard.
It is noted that China granted Egypt a license to locally produce doses of Sinovac vaccine supplying it with the raw material.
Minister Shokry further underlined the necessity of mobilizing the resources required to consolidate national health systems in Africa. He elaborated that the continent suffers from structural challenges pertaining to providing citizens with health services, and dealing with diseases and epidemics. Hence, the minister demanded vaccine-producing countries to back the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
In the end of his speech, the minister of foreign affairs asserted Egypt's commitment to effectively contribute to the global health system in a way that ensures that the most vulnerable countries are well equipped to handle global health challenges.