Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, has received its first shipment of a Chinese-made vaccine against COVID-19, the state media reported on Friday.
The first batch of the vaccine, developed by the Chinese drugmaker, Sinopharm, arrived late on Thursday at Cairo airport from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the state television reported.
The vaccine will be made available for Egyptian citizens free, the broadcaster quoted Health Minister Hala Zayed as saying.
The first doses will be given to health workers as well as tumour and renal failure patients, according to the television.
“The vaccine is 96 per cent to 100 per cent effective in mild and severe cases,” the official added.
The shipment was offered to Egypt as a gift from the UAE, the state-run newspaper, al-Ahram, reported online.
The first delivery had 50,000 doses, al-Ahram quoted an unnamed health official as saying.
The UAE on Wednesday authorised the Sinopharm vaccine for general use.
Egypt, with a population of more than 100 million, has confirmed so far, a total of 120,147 virus cases, resulting in 6,854 deaths.
In recent weeks, health authorities in the country have recorded an increase in daily infection rates amid a warning of a potentially second wave of the pandemic.
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