A handout photo shows an employee demonstrating vials with "Gam-COVID-Vac" vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)- Reuters
CAIRO – 17 December 2020: By the end of December 2020, Egypt will have half a million doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm against the coronavirus (COVID-19), said Nader Saad, the Spokesperson of the Cabinet on Wednesday.
The vaccine doses will be given to people who come priority on the waiting lists, said Saad in remarks to "Happens in Egypt" talk show on MBC Masr on Wednesday, adding that SMS will be sent to those people on where and when they could receive the vaccines.
The Ministry of Health is the only concerned body that will be tasked to distribute the vaccines, clarifying that a total of 5,400 health units will distribute the vaccines next January, he continued.
Egypt will obtain 20 million vaccine doses from the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Saad said, adding that the ministry has been directed to provide additional 10 million doses.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli directed the government to form a committee from the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior to activate the penalties against the violators of the anti-coronavirus protective procedures, Saad added.
The Health Ministry said on Wednesday that 544 new coronavirus cases were recorded, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 123,153.
In a statement, the ministry said that 24 patients died from the virus over the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 6,990.
As many as 269 patients were discharged from isolation hospitals after receiving necessary medical care, taking the number of recovered cases to 105,719 so far, the statement said.
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed headed on Wednesday to the UAE, where she will hold discussions with UAE officials on supplying Egypt with other batches of Covid-19 vaccine, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement added that Zayed will discuss ways of transferring the UAE experience in vaccine manufacturing technologies to Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products & Vaccines (Vacsera), where a line for vaccine manufacturing will be established.
The minister will discuss the outcomes of the clinical researches conducted on the Chinese vaccine.
Last week, Egypt has received the first shipment of the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm from the UAE. According to the UAE news agency WAM, the vaccine has 86 percent efficacy against COVID-19 infection.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi thanked the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) for sending the shipment of the vaccine, highlighting the distinguished level that governs Egypt's relations with the Gulf states, especially the UAE.
The Chinese vaccine has shown 99 percent efficacy in producing antibodies to the novel virus and 100 percent efficacy in preventing cases from showing moderate or severe symptoms, the Egyptian Health Ministry spokesman said.
The first batch of the vaccine was stored in the state-owned pharmaceutical company VACSERA and then will be distributed after completing all various researches, the ministry said in a previous statement, adding that the Sinopharm vaccine has been tried in more than 6 countries, including Egypt, on 45,000 volunteers.
As for manufacturing the vaccine in VACSERA, the ministry said that an agreement between the company the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinoharm was completed and the legislative approvals were obtained, noting that a group of experts from the World Health Organization has arrived in Egypt.
Chinese Ambassador Liqiang said the Egyptian-Chinese relations have witnessed a big leap over the past years, the Egyptian state’s news agency MENA reported.
He said China suffered from a critical phase as a result of the coronavirus, noting that Sisi has sent a message of solidarity to his Chinese counterpart and Zayed paid a visit to China with medical and preventive supplies.
The ambassador asserted that the arrival of the Sinopharm vaccine to Cairo is the best evidence of the strength of such friendly ties between the two countries.