Egypt's vaccination system 'a failure', health official says

Egypt's vaccination system 'a failure', health ministry official says
2 min read
23 September, 2021
The source says the government will not fulfil it's pledge to vaccinate 40 million citizens by the end of the year
The source stated 15.5 million registered Egyptians have been waiting to receive the vaccine for 6 months[Getty]

A source at the Egyptian Ministry of Health has labelled the country's vaccination system a failure, in an exclusive comment to The New Arab's sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The source revealed on Wednesday that around 15.5 million Egyptian citizens, registered on the official ministry website, have been waiting to receive the coronavirus vaccine for six months.

They also said that only 3 million people across the country, which has a population of over 100 million, have received two doses of the vaccine and that 5.5 million people who received their first dose are still waiting for their second.

"The government will not be able to fulfil it's pledge to vaccinate 40 million citizens by the end of this year, or even half that number due to no clear vaccination strategy", the source said, blaming "the ministry's haphazard policies in the vaccination campaign against the virus".

The source also said millions of registered citizens have not yet received messages regarding the date of their vaccination, and that many who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca had their second dose postponed without being given a reason.  

The ministry of health also postponed those needing a second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine for periods ranging from 10 to 13 days, due to a low number of vaccine doses available in vaccination centres across the country, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The prioritisation of vaccinating Egyptians wishing to travel abroad as the summer holidays come to an end has also reportedly lead to many citizens' second doses being postponed. 

The Minister of Health Hala Zayed said in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the total number of coronavirus vaccines due to be imported has reached 33,000,678 doses, noting a shipment of over one million AstraZeneca doses have now arrived.

Zayed stated these will be distributed to vaccination centres across the country, confirming Egypt also aims to deliver nearly 2 million doses of the home-produced Sinovac Vaccine by September 24.

In recent months, Egypt has ramped up production of the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine, aiming to become a hub for vaccine exports to Africa.

Covid-19 infections are increasing across Egypt, with an average of 620 new infections being reported daily.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 298,296 infections and 17,016 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country.

According to Reuters, Egypt has administered 13,808,798 doses of the vaccine up until present - 1.5 million more than figures provided by the source.

Assuming everyone needs two doses, this would be enough to have vaccinated 6.9% of the country's population.