Egypt extended the rollout of its vaccination programme against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), on Thursday, according to a cabinet statement.
The doses, which are being provided to the elderly and those with chronic illnesses, come as part of an extension to the nationwide vaccination programme that started several weeks ago, but which focused on medical staff.
Since the opening of online registration last Sunday, nearly 153,000 people have applied for vaccinations, the cabinet added.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly witnessed the first process of the vaccination programme. There are 40 vaccination centres across the country, with plans to increase that number after the arrival of more vaccine batches, Madbouly said.
Egypt has received 350,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), in two batches since December. This comes in addition to 50,000 doses of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which the country received in February.
It is hoped that the vaccines will be received through the COVAX facility, a global initiative aimed at providing equitable distribution of vaccines, in the coming weeks.
On 24 February, the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use. The country’s Prime Speed Medical Services said that it had obtained the right to provide Sputnik V in Egypt in a statement to the stock exchange, without giving details.
Egypt began vaccinating frontline medical staff against COVID-19 on 24 January, using the Chinese vaccine.
Those receiving the Sinopharm jab have a second dose after 21 days, while those who receive the AstraZeneca vaccine wait 12 weeks for the second dose, according to Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed.
As of Wednesday, Egypt had confirmed 184,168 coronavirus cases, including 10,822 deaths, since the start of the pandemic in February 2020.