The United Kingdom has delivered 299,700 doses of the Astra-Oxford vaccine to Egypt as part of relief efforts, the British embassy in Cairo said in a statement on Tuesday.
The package donated by the UK was shipped via the COVAX initiative, with the support of UNICEF and WHO, and arrived in Cairo on Monday, the statement read.
The delivery is part of the first tranche of the 100 million vaccines that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised by to share June 2022 at the G7 Summit in Cornwall, with 30 million due to be sent by the end of the year. At least 80 million of the 100 million doses will go to COVAX.
The donation follows another recent COVAX shipment of 1.7 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, also from the UK.
The UK was at the forefront of efforts to establish COVAX in 2020, and has provided a total of £548 million to fund vaccines for lower income countries. So far, COVAX has delivered more than 152 million vaccine doses to over 137 countries and territories, including in 83 lower-middle income countries.
This package, and the UK’s wider support to COVAX, will help meet the need for vaccines in Egypt as the country continues to battle with COVID-19.
The British chargé d’affaires and Deputy Ambassador to Egypt, Qudsi Rasheed, said: “Yesterday, the UK sent around 300,000 vaccines to Egypt, through COVAX, the first batch of the 100 million doses our Prime Minister has pledged we will share with countries around the world within the next year. This is another milestone in our partnership with Egypt to help support the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and part of the UK’s goal to end the pandemic by 2022.”
WHO Representative in Egypt Naeema Al Gasseer hailed the solidarity of UK government’s commitment to protect populations beyond its borders, in addition to the national efforts to scale up the vaccine intake by all, ensuring that the largest number of people around the world is covered.
UNICEF Representative in Egypt Jeremy Hopkins said “I would like to express our thanks to the UK government for their contribution. The close collaboration between the UK Government as well as our partners is critical to ensure we deliver vaccines at speed and protect as many people as possible against this virus. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”