COVID-19 vaccines reach remote areas of Egypt
Vaccines reach children as young as 13 years old in remote areas with the support of Binance
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That day in February 2022, 16-year-old Malak woke up hearing an announcement from the nearby mosque’s microphone that a vaccination team was coming to their village. This young lady lives in a small village in Menoufeya Governorate, in the North of Egypt.
Driven by curiosity, she went to check the visitors. She found a big van from the Ministry of Health and Population surrounded by a crowd of curious villagers. As she came closer, she found a group of ladies who wore “COVID-19 vaccination campaign” vests, explaining that the large van was actually a mobile vaccination unit that would be staying there for a couple of days. All villagers eligible for vaccination could come to take their dose, free of charge.
But Malak wasn’t not sure this was the right thing to do. She and her mother heard lots of claims about COVID-19 vaccines being unsafe in chats with neighbors and friends.
But Malak started engaging with the health workers when they came to her house for a home visit. They were visiting each house in the village as part of a “door-knocking” campaign to talk about COVID-19 vaccines.
After raising a few questions, Malak ultimately received her vaccine.
These health community leaders are trained by UNICEF to communicate with populations and communities, to fight rumors and misinformation and strengthen public confidence on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Through the door-knocking campaign lead by the Ministry of Health, community leaders scouted the village’s houses spreading awareness on the vaccine, encouraging eligible family members to take the vaccine and addressing rumors and misconceptions. One issue was of a particular concern to almost every family: vaccine safety for children, pregnant and lactating women.
Listening to facts from ladies they can relate to was of a great help to persuade the village mothers to get the vaccine and allow their children to get vaccinated as well. Malak’s mother was luckily convinced and allowed all her children including Malak, her older brother Karim and younger brother Khaled to get vaccinated.
Till last year, children below 18 years were not eligible for vaccination. As the Pfizer vaccination became approved for children above 12 years old under family consent, many families still had vaccine hesitancy for themselves and their children. In remote areas such as this village, children vaccination rates were expected to be very low.
As of of May 2022, Egypt managed to fully vaccinate 34.5 million people, an important figure but more is needed.
To increase access to vaccines in remote areas and encourage more citizens to get themselves and their children vaccinated, the Ministry of Health and Population started to send mobile teams to areas of low vaccination rates accompanied by healthcare workers to do these home visits.
Thanks to UNICEF support, Egypt received more than 75 million doses of vaccines via the COVAX facility and further strengthened the cold chain. This allowed vaccines requesting storage at ultra-cold temperature to be distributed in these remote areas.
With $100,000 worth of fund, Binance.charity: Blockchain Charity Foundation supported the procurement and management of the supply chain for COVID-19 vaccination in priority governorates such as Menoufeya. In Menoufeya, mobile teams reached more than 300 villages and more than 812,000 citizens got vaccinated in February 2022.