Egypt arrests trio suspected of dumping thousands of COVID-19 vaccines

Egypt arrests trio suspected of dumping thousands of COVID-19 vaccines
© MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

Three people were arrested in Egypt for disposing of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines without authorization, Reuters reports.

The discarded doses were found as photographs popped up on social media showing white packages containing the vaccines scattered along a waterway in Bani Mazar province, north of Minya.

An unauthorized pharmacist and an official involved in the incident were held for gross negligence, along with a Health Ministry driver who was supposed to be delivering the vaccines to the health directorate in the city of Minya. All three were detained after giving conflicting accounts.

ADVERTISEMENT

The unused doses went missing after being handed to the delivery driver and before reaching their destination in Minya.

The unused vaccines are valued at more than 5 million Egyptian pounds, or $319,000. The vaccines were believed to be produced by China's Sinopharm.

Eygpt's COVID-19 levels are listed as Level 2 "moderate" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Sept. 10, the country had 292,476 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16,860 deaths, according to the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

Only about 11 percent of the population has received one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while less than 6 percent are fully vaccinated.