Egypt allows immediate COVID-19 vaccination amid fourth wave

A woman receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in a hospital in Cairo, Egypt, March 4, 2021, Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua

Egypt is now providing immediate COVID-19 vaccinations at youth centers across the country without prior online registration, a step aimed at encouraging vaccinations and relieving pressure on hospitals and health units amid a fourth wave of infections.

Nearly 270 youth centers are now open for citizens to get the vaccines, the health ministry said, bringing the total number of vaccination sites across the country to 1,100.

The move is part of the “Together We Are Assured” campaign, launched by the health ministry in mid-September, that allows citizens to register and receive vaccinations immediately after complaints of a large time difference between the two steps.

Egypt said in August that it plans to vaccinate all 4.5 million of its state employees against COVID-19 in two months.

As part of the program, all workers in pre-university education, university employees and university students, a total of more than 5 million people, will be vaccinated before the start of the academic year in October.

Youth centers also started to receive university students seeking vaccination on Monday, the health ministry said.

The country has received vaccines produced by AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik, and Johnson & Johnson, and is expecting to receive shots made by Pfizer and Moderna.

It has also started producing Sinovac’s vaccine locally.

So far, 11 million people in the country of more than 100 million have been given one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while more than 5 million have been given two doses, health minister Hala Zayed said on Saturday.

Egypt has recorded 302,327 COVID-19 infections as of Monday, including 17,224 deaths. However, officials and experts say the real number of infections is far higher but is not reflected in government figures because of low coronavirus testing rates and the exclusion of private test results.

The health ministry expects the peak of the fourth wave of infections in October.