An official from the Egyptian Health Ministry has announced the launching of a website that will allow Egyptians to register for vaccination against COVID-19, Al-Ahram reports. This website is said to go live by the beginning of the week of 20 December, allowing citizens to enter their personal information and reserve a dose of the vaccine.
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed first made mention of this website as well as a hotline with the same purpose just after the first batch of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Egypt on 10 December.
Zayed said that the first batch, containing 50,000 doses, had arrived and will be available to citizens free of charge. The batch was provided as a gift from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with the Chinese and Emirati Ambassadors to Egypt present at Cairo International Airport alongside the Minister of Health.
Though initially a second batch was said to arrive in Egypt soon after the first, there are now reports that its arrival has been postponedthere are now reports that its arrival has been postponed.
According to the Egyptian Health Minister, Egypt is the first African country to receive a COVID-19 vaccine batch. Medical staff working in chest and fever hospitals and isolation hospitals and patients with kidney, heart, and other chronic diseases would receive priority access to the vaccine.
In addition to the Sinopharm vaccine, Egypt has signed agreements or expressed its interest to receive vaccines from a number of other sources. This includes Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s vaccine and US pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s vaccine to cover 20 percent of Egypt’s needs, both of which Egypt says will cover 50 percent of the country’s needs. Egypt has also been in discussions with Pharco, a leading Russian pharmaceutical corporation.
COVID-19 cases in Egypt recently continued to rise, with the first week of December seeing the number of deaths doubling from 14 a day to 28. On Thursday night, Egypt’s Ministry of Health recorded 445 new cases and 22 new deaths, taking the total number of infections to 120,147 and the number of deaths to 6,854. A total of 104,281 people have recovered from the virus. It is believed the actual number of infections in Egypt is much higher than the officially recorded cases.
Despite the rising number of new officially recorded cases, which had decreased to less than 100 earlier in August after peaking in June at 1,774 cases, a large number of Egyptians continue to ignore health safety instructions, including social distancing and are no longer wearing masks contrary to government directives.