The Egyptian Cabinet has authorised the Ministers of Finance and Health to take the necessary measures to build Egypt’s stock of vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The approval came at the Cabinet’s weekly meeting on Wednesday, during which approval was also given for contracts to be drawn up with GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation). This will ensure that Egypt will obtain 20 million doses of vaccines designed to combat the pandemic.
Headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the meeting also directed for contracts and deals to be made with several other companies to secure a greater number of vaccinations.
In September, Egypt commenced trials of a vaccine against the coronavirus. The Ministry of Health said the trials, which are being run in cooperation with the Chinese government and the UAE’s G42 Healthcare Company, are part of an integrated package, and include research on potential vaccines and manufacturing.
A total of 6,000 volunteers from Egypt are expected to participate in these trials, in which participants will receive two doses of the vaccination 21 days apart. They will then be closely monitored for a full year, to verify the vaccine’s efficacy.
In July, Egypt and China agreed that the former would become a regional African centre for the production of the Chinese manufactured COVID-19 vaccines. This is set to take place through cooperation between the Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) and a Chinese company working in the field of drug production.
The Ministry of Health said that the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to citizens according to the guidelines set out by the World Health Organization (WHO). As soon as the vaccine’s effectiveness is proven, doses will be provided to the groups most vulnerable to and most affected by infection, namely medical staff, the elderly with chronic diseases, and pregnant women.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Madbouly also commented on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s visit to South Sudan. He described it as part of the “state’s tendency to increase cooperation and strengthen bilateral relations with the African countries, especially South Sudan.”
In this regard, Madbouly noted that there are a number of joint projects between Egypt and South Sudan in several fields, including agriculture and irrigation, which will take place in the coming period.