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Egypt begins coronavirus immunization campaign

Egypt begins its COVID-19 immunization program, becoming one of the first countries in Africa to vaccinate its citizens, with a doctor and a nurse receiving the Chinese-made Sinopharm jab.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with over 100 million people, received its first batch of the vaccine in December.

The inoculation will be available to all health workers for free, Health Minister Hala Zayed says.

“All healthcare workers will receive it for free, it’s their right,” Zayed tells a press conference at Abu Khalifa Hospital in the northeastern city of Ismailia.

She also pays tribute to over 330 doctors in Egypt who have died from the virus.

People with chronic diseases and the elderly will be next in line for the shot, but the minister says citizens “who have the means should pay for the vaccine” in the coming months.

Egypt has registered over 160,000 novel coronavirus infections, including nearly 9,000 deaths. Health officials have warned that low testing rates mean the real number could be at least 10 times higher.

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