Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population, Dr. Hala Zayed, announced this week that Egypt’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is set to begin in the second and third weeks of January, allocating 34 centres for distribution in 27 governorates nationwide, Ahram Online reports.
Three centres (Al Nozha Medical Center, Katameya Medical Center, and Al Zohour Medical Center in Asmarat, Vacsera Vaccination Center, Mit Akaba Center, and Al Markaz Al Motamayez bl Ekhasas) will be located in both Cairo and Giza, two in Qalioubiya and Alexandria, and one in the 23 other governorates.
Egypt recently received the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm on 10 December, which contains 50,000 doses.
Here’s what we know so far about the COVID-19 distribution plan:
Who will get the vaccine first?
Minister of Health Dr. Hala Zayed noted that the medical staff, the elderly and those with chronic diseases will be the first priority in receiving the vaccines.
Do I have to pay for the vaccine?
No. Minister of Health said that the first batch of the vaccine will be available to the public free of charge.
The Tahya Masr (Long Live Egypt) fund will also bear any costs for those unfortunate, the most vulnerable and healthcare workers.
How soon will the vaccines be available?
According to the Ministry of Health’s statement, Katameya Medical Center will be the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. A number of other centres have already been allocated in other governorates, yet updates of when they will receive the vaccines will soon follow.
Are the vaccines safe?
Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din, presidential adviser for health affairs, stated during a press conference in December that Egypt will not distribute any vaccines until it is 100 percent proven internationally that they are safe and effective.
“We are monitoring the progress in scientific research on vaccines produced worldwide, and Egypt will make sure that it diversifies its sources of vaccines,” Tag El-Din said.
Egypt also officially signed contracts to receive 20 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. According to studies, both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are proven to be more than 90 percent effective, and take around six weeks from the initial vaccination to develop resistance to COVID-19.
Can I stop wearing a mask after getting a vaccine?
No. There isn’t yet enough information on whether the vaccine will protect people from the infection entirely, as Deborah Fuller, a vaccine expert at the University of Washington, stated vaccinated people might still be able to get infected and pass the virus on, though at a much lower rate.
“The vaccine does not substitute adhering to the precautionary measures,” Tag El-Din said at the press conference.
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