Vaccinating the first doctor and nurse included in the Health Ministry’s anti-coronavirus campaign on Sunday, Egypt has started providing vaccines to medical workers in 40 quarantine hospitals nationwide.
In a press conference, Minister Hala Zayed announced that the vaccination campaign kicked off from Abu Khalifa hospital in Ismailia city, to vaccinate medical staff at these hospitals as they are among the most vulnerable to contract the novel virus.
The vaccine will be provided free of charge for all medical workers nationwide.
The elderly shall come second in the campaign.
Zayed urged everyone who is over 65 years old to head to the closest public hospital for registration to obtain the vaccine.
The minister affirmed that Egypt is set to obtain more than 100 million doses of different vaccines. She noted that the state contracted with Chinese, British and Russian companies to obtain the doses.
Zayed said the ministry has the required cooling facilities to store 140 million doses of the vaccine.
Priority groups also include the medical staff in chest and fevers hospitals, as well as cancer or kidney failure patients, older people and persons suffering from chronic diseases.
In an interview with ONE channel, Zayed said the vaccine will be provided to citizens in a low price; LE 100 ($6.4) or less for each of the two doses.
Citizens included in the cash support program Takaful w Karama, who are unable to purchase the vaccine, will take it for free, Zayed added.
Those who are under 18 years of age and pregnant women will not be allowed to take the vaccine, Zayed said.
Vaccines of Chinese Sinopharm, British-Swedish AstraZeneca as well as the Russian Sputnik V vaccine are being approved by the ministry, she added.
After the end of the first quarter of 2021, the ministry will announce a date for other citizens, who are not among the priority groups, to take the vaccine, Zayed added.
More than 36 centers have been allocated nationwide for citizens to be given the vaccine, the ministry said earlier
The vaccine is safe and has been subjected to all required tests that proved its efficacy, the ministry said earlier.
The ministry referred to a study that found that the Sinopharm vaccine has shown 86 percent efficacy against coronavirus, 99 percent efficacy in producing antibodies to the novel virus and 100 percent efficacy in preventing cases from showing moderate or severe symptoms.
Expected side effects of the Sinopharm vaccine is a feeling of pain and redness, stiffness and itching where the vaccine was taken, fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, allergy, pain in muscles and joints and convulsions.
The ministry said these side effects generally do not require a certain treatment and usually go away without any medication.
The vaccine is injected in the upper arm. It consists of two shots, 21 days apart.
Egypt received its first batch of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in December, consisting of 50,000 doses. Presidential advisor for health affairs Awad Tag El-Din said Egypt contracted with Gavi to obtain 20 million vaccine doses.