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Egypt approves Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine

Egyptians get tested for Covid-19 at a drive-through coronavirus-testing centre in Cairo, Egypt on 29 June 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]
Egyptians tested for Covid-19 at a drive-through coronavirus-testing centre in Cairo, Egypt on 29 June 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt has approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, becoming the 34th country outside of Russia and third in North Africa to do so, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement on Wednesday, reported Reuters.

RDIF, Russia's sovereign wealth fund responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, said Sputnik V had been approved by the Egyptian Drug Authority using an emergency use authorisation procedure. Tunisia and Algeria have already approved the shot.

Yesterday, Egypt received 300,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). This batch from China was the second shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine to Egypt. The country received its first 50,000-dose shipment in December.

The North African country also got 50,000 doses of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca earlier in February as part of its programme to vaccinate health workers.

Read: Egypt faces health crisis due to sharp decline in number of doctors

Egypt began vaccinating frontline medical staff against COVID-19 on January 24 using the Chinese vaccine.

Egypt will open an online registration process next week for other groups eligible for vaccination, such as the elderly and patients with chronic diseases, Mostafa Ghoneima, a health minister assistant, told Reuters.

Vaccination of these groups will start with the arrival of more shipments of vaccines, he said at the Cairo airport upon the arrival of the latest shipment of Sinopharm vaccines.

As of Monday, Egypt had confirmed 178,774 coronavirus cases, including 10,404 deaths, since the start of the pandemic more than 10 months ago.

Read: Egyptians call on Sisi to postpone school reopening

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