Egypt receives first shipment of Chinese vaccine

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt on Thursday received its first shipment of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine, which was tested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is said to be 86 per cent effective.

The shipment by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm landed at Cairo’s international airport from the UAE. Cairo and Abu Dhabi are close allies.

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed and diplomats from China and the UAE were at the airport to greet the shipment. Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the government would first vaccinate health care workers, particularly those who deal with COVID-19 cases. He said they would receive two doses of the vaccine over 21 days.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, has seen an increase in confirmed coronavirus infections in recent weeks amid warnings by the government about a second wave of the pandemic. Egypt reported 445 newly confirmed coronavirus infections on Thursday and 22 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the country’s overall tally to 120,147 cases, with 6,854 deaths.

The Sinopharm vaccine has been approved for emergency use in a few countries and the company is still conducting late-stage clinical trials in 10 nations.

Sinopharm’s vaccine relies on a killed virus, similar to how polio immunisations work.