Egypt receives 546,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine donated by France through AVAT and COVAX platforms
19 September 2021 – Egypt received 546,400 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated through a new partnership between the French government and the African Union (AU)/the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), and delivered in partnership with the COVAX Facility.
Dr. Khaled Megahed, assistant to the Health Minister for media and awareness, and the Official Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, explained that this shipment was received in two batches, one of which arrived at Cairo International Airport on Friday and the other one on Saturday. Dr. Megahed stressed that “the Egyptian state spares no effort in providing vaccines to citizens free of charge, which consolidates the government’s efforts to combat the pandemic. Dr. Megahed added that, “the received shipment of “AstraZeneca” vaccine will be distributed to 781 vaccination centers nationwide”.
“With this donation, France and the African Union are demonstrating their solidarity with Egypt during these difficult times: we stand together with the people of Egypt, as the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, by supporting vaccination efforts launched by the Ministry of Health and Population” said Chargé d’affaires a.i. of France, François Legué. "This support is in line with the longstanding and successful cooperation between France and Egypt on numerous fronts”.
“In the spirit of the strategic partnership and sincere friendship that links France and Egypt”, added François Legué, “France stands close to the Egyptian Government and people in the fight against COVID-19 and its knock-on effects”.
“Bringing nations and people together is not a luxury but a necessity to halt the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO praises the generous contribution made by France to increase the number of vaccinated people around the world including Egypt. The longer the vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will keep circulating and changing, and the higher the chances that more variants will emerge thus render the vaccines less effective”, said Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO representative in Egypt.
“WHO urges the countries who have the vaccines to scale up their support for other countries in an act of solidarity as no one is safe until everyone is safe. Our global target as WHO is to support every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year, and 70% of the world’s population by the middle of next year”, she added.
“UNICEF welcome the donations of COVID-19 vaccines by the Government of France, which allows well-supplied countries to share vaccine doses with other countries to help protect the most at-risk populations globally”, said Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt. “Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines represents the clearest pathway out of this pandemic for all of us — children included, and these donations are an important step in this direction as No-one is safe until everyone is safe”.
The Government of Egypt has been taking strong measures to control the spread of coronavirus, including speeding up vaccination for its population, especially those with underlying conditions and the most vulnerable.
Mr Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy for COVID-19 and coordinator of the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team asserted that “the goal of the AVAT is to enable all Member States to reach our continental target of vaccination against COVID-19 and save African lives and livelihoods. We welcome this donation by the Government of France, a strong champion of dose sharing, as an important step towards this goal, and look forward to continuing our partnership in the coming weeks and months to increase COVID-19 vaccine access in Africa.”
Professor Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank said, "Afreximbank welcomes the strong partnership France has demonstrated through this dose sharing initiative with AU Member States. We are particularly pleased that Egypt is receiving its own share of the doses today as we believe that it will greatly enhance the efforts being made by the government to bring the pandemic under control. As a major shareholder and host of Afreximbank and strong supporter of the AVAT mechanism, we view Egypt as a critical partner in the fight against the a Covid - 19 pandemic in Africa. We believe that this dose sharing by France will further encourage Egypt and indeed other African States to intensify their pandemic recovery efforts and save lives and livelihoods"
“France’s leadership in dose donation will further the cause of equitable access and help end the acute phase of the pandemic,” added Dr Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The AVAT initiative was set up as a pooled procurement mechanism for the African Union Member States to be able to buy enough vaccines for at least 50% of their needs. The AVAT works closely with the COVAX initiative, which seeks to provide the other 50% through donations. AVAT is managed on behalf of the African Union Member States by an alliance of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), as well as the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which provided the USD 2 billion funding for the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines by AVAT. Egypt is a major shareholder of Afreximbank and hosts the Bank’s Headquarters.
The COVAX Facility is co-led by WHO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), GAVI - the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF as a key implementing partner.
The additional vaccines will support the Ministry of Health and Population to expand coverage and reach more people from priority groups, including the elderly and those suffering from underlying conditions.
While the continuous arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines is encouraging, it will take some time for every priority group to be vaccinated. Thus, it is essential to continue abiding by preventative measures to reduce virus transmission: wear face masks, wash hands regularly, and practice physical distancing.
For more information, please contact:
Ministry of Health and Population
Dr. Khaled Megahed, assistant to the Health Minister for media and awareness & the Official Spokesperson
Rokayya Konsowa, Communication Officer, WHO Egypt
Embassy of France in Egypt
Mounia Gicquel, Head of press and communication, Embassy of France in Egypt,
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/egypt/