EgyptAir is ready to transport doses of the anticipated coronavirus vaccine to Egypt and any other destinations, said the chair of the holding company of the national carrier in a telephone interview with the state-run Nile TV on Sunday.
Roshdy Zakariya added that the company’s fleet will be supported by two Boeing-777 aircraft that will help transport the vaccine, stressing that “the company’s crew is totally up for transporting and discharging all types of shipments.”
Most of the vaccines on the horizon need to be kept at very low temperatures, especially the one made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which must be kept at a temperature of about -70C.
The transportation process will be carried out using refrigerated containers to keep the doses at the required temperatures before they are discharged from the planes, Zakariya noted.
He added that they can then be warehoused at a refrigerated yard the company owns before being delivered to their final destinations.
Zakariya also pointed out that the company will refer to the concerned agencies to inquire about any further measures required during the process of transportation.
Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed in September to supply 25 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine to Egypt via Pharco, one of the country’s leading pharmaceutical groups.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has also recently delegated the Ministers of Health and Finance to take the necessary measures and procedures to contract GAVI, the vaccine alliance, to provide the country with a 20 million-dose batch of the coronavirus vaccine.
GAVI aims to guarantee rapid and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, mainly for middle-income and under-developed countries.
The amount would cover up to 20 percent of the country’s needs, with priority given to medical staff and those most vulnerable to the disease, according to previous remarks by Health Minister Hala Zayed.
Egyptian Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad, however, said Egypt will not receive any doses before the first half of 2021 since GAVI already has a long list of requests from different countries to get the much-awaited vaccine.
Saad added that GAVI is also waiting for the trial vaccines to obtain the necessary emergency approval from the World Health Organization (WHO) to fulfil the countries’ demands.
Coronavirus has caused the death of 6,750 people and infected a total of 118,014 in Egypt.
The UK and Bahrain have granted an emergency-use authorisation for a coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.