BY LEVI JOHNSON
An additional 1.77 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine have arrived in Cairo, Egypt; The Ministry of Health and Population leads on scaling up vaccination campaigns across the country as Egypt faces third wave of COVID-19.
Egypt yesterday received 1 768 800 COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine doses delivered via the COVAX Facility. This comes more than a month after the arrival of the first shipment containing 854 400 doses. To date, Egypt has been allocated to receive a total of 4.5 milion doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX Facility.
This latest delivery is particularly important as Egypt faces a third wave of COVID-19. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Population, vaccination is now open to all people over 18 years old, with priority to health care workers, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
“The arrival of vaccines produced by AstraZeneca to Cairo International Airport on Thursday morning, as the second shipment is part of a total of 40 million doses that will be received in succession,” said Dr Hala Zayed, Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population.
Dr Zayed also thanked the World Health Organization and UNICEF for their continous support to Egypt in its plan to address the pandemic, stressing the importance of cooperation with partner organizations in the response.
The arrival of this second batch of COVAX Facility vaccines will help ensure that the most vulnerable families are protected
“Fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines benefits those most in need such as front line health care workers and service providers, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases. Only by ensuring all people, including the most vulnerable, can we halt the spread of this disease in communities and shine a light of hope in the dark tunnel of the pandemic. WHO acknowledges the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Population in expanding the network of vaccination centres all over Egypt to facilitate and accelerate vaccination. Earlier this month, the largest vaccination centre in the country was opened at Cairo convention centre in Nasr City, with the capacity to serve 10 000 people per day. It’s time for everyone to register on the Ministry of Health and Population’s website and receive the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO Representative in Egypt.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating all around the world, particularly for the poorest families in low- and middle-income countries. Accelerating equitable access to the vaccine is of paramount importance. The arrival of this second batch of COVAX Facility vaccines will help ensure that the most vulnerable families are protected and able to be an active part of the recovery at community level. Children have suffered inordinately over the last year as schooling and access to basic services have been severely disrupted, and with unmeasurable impact on mental health and well-being. UNICEF and partners continue to work with the generous support of development partners to support the relentless efforts of the Ministry of Health and Population and other key ministerial partners to contain and mitigate the impact of the pandemic,” said Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt.
“As the world’s biggest donor to COVAX, the United States is helping ensure equitable vaccine access. We’re thrilled to see the arrival of another 1.77 million COVAX COVID-19 vaccine doses in Egypt today. Vaccines are crucial to ending this pandemic, and the United States is donating $11 billion to support the COVID-19 response,” said U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Mr Jonathan R. Cohen
“The European Union, through its Team Europe initiative, continues to partner with Egypt against COVID-19, as 1.77 million additional doses of Astra Zeneca are reaching Egypt today. Very recently, we celebrated Europe Day (9 May), carrying a message of solidarity within the EU, and by the EU, with our partners around the globe. This shipment is among the largest undertaken in the MENA region and in Africa. COVAX deliveries to Egypt are to reach a total of 4.5 million doses soon. Team Europe remains at the forefront of global efforts against the pandemic, with a €2.47 billion contribution to the COVAX initiative to help secure 1.3 billion doses of vaccination for 92 low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021,” said Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt.
“I am very pleased to see the arrival of another COVAX vaccine delivery to Egypt. It shows that our ongoing multilateral commitment in the fight against the pandemic bears fruits and gives reason for hope – every vaccinated person brings us closer to returning to normalcy. The multilateral path of cooperation and solidarity is the right answer to this global challenge, and we must not slacken in our joint efforts until there is safety for everyone,” said Dr Cyrill Nunn, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Egypt.
“I am delighted to see that the COVAX scheme is continuing to deliver. This second shipment of 1.77 million vaccines, only one month after the first, will help people here in Egypt who need it most: front line medical staff, those in higher risk categories, the elderly. It will save lives. We must all work together to overcome COVID-19, and it is a responsibility the United Kingdom takes very seriously. I’m proud that, as a major donor to the COVAX Facility, we are working to ensure vaccine access for all,” said Sir Geoffrey Adams, British Ambassador to Egypt
“We need more cooperation and international solidarity to address the global crises of our time. Sweden is now the largest per capita donor to COVAX and on top of that Sweden donated another 1 million doses to COVAX earlier this week. We will continue to work for vaccine equity with our partners in the EU and beyond to ensure a more fair distribution of vaccines. No one is safe until everyone is safe,”said Mr Per-Axel Frielingsdorf, Chargé d’affaires at Swedish Embassy in Egypt.
“Japan has worked to formulate the COVAX Facility, already contributed US$ 200 million and will co-host with Gavi in June “Advanced Market Commitment Summit” to strengthen this international mechanism to ensure and accelerate equitable access to vaccines regardless of income level. Japan also decided to extend “Last One Mile Support.” In Egypt, Japan will provide 760 vaccination posts in Egypt with cold-storage facilities through UNICEF to deliver vaccines to each and every person. We will continue to work under the concept of human security, “Leaving no one’s health behind,” said Mr NOKE Masaki, Ambassador of Japan to Egypt.