Egyptian health authorities plan to start texting at-risk individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine booster.
The Health Ministry announced last night that it will send via text information on setting up an appointment to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. People whose work or health situations put them at risk of contracting the coronavirus will receive the messages, providing they received their last dose more than six months ago. More than 4 million Egyptians are eligible for a booster dose, the state-owned news outlet Al-Ahram reported today.
Many countries around the world are currently offering booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines to people who were vaccinated months ago. Authorities are partly motivated by concerns that immunity via vaccination may begin to wane with time. In the Middle East, Israel and Iraq have approved the booster. The World Health Organization believes evidence on a widespread need for the booster is limited. They are also opposed to governments offering the shot while many countries have barely administered the initial vaccine doses.
Around 25% of the Egyptian population is vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Oxford-based Our World in Data.
Egypt has been making progress in its vaccine rollout recently. The country imported 540,000 doses of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine in September. Spain also recently pledged to give more doses to Egypt.
The official coronavirus numbers in Egypt are relatively low. The country is averaging around 900 cases a day, according to data from Reuters. The high was more than 1,600 cases a day in June. Egypt has a population of more than 100 million. However, some experts have accused Egyptian authorities of underreporting their virus figures.