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Egypt advances export goal for jabs

China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-14 09:53
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Airport staff members unload the first batch of Chinese Sinovac vaccine raw materials from a plane at the Cairo International Airport in Cairo, Egypt, May 21, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

CAIRO-Egypt celebrated the local production of the first 1 million doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, seeking to meet domestic demand first before exporting to other countries in the region.

The Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines, or VACSERA, and Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac signed two agreements in April to jointly manufacture the vaccine in VACSERA's factory in the North African country.

The first agreement enables the Egyptian side to obtain the expertise and technical assistance to produce the vaccine, while the second one gives VACSERA the license to manufacture and pack the vaccine in its factory.

"Manufacturing the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at the factories of VACSERA makes Egypt the first Arab and African country to produce the coronavirus vaccines," said Mohammed Eid, director of Abbasia Chest Hospital in Cairo.

Producing the vaccine locally will have a great impact on controlling the pandemic, not only in Egypt but also in Arab and African countries.

"This move will enable Egypt to achieve great successes in controlling the spread of the virus … Egypt is very qualified to produce the vaccines since it has a very strong scientific and technological base," he added.

In addition to the health and technological benefits, Eid said Egypt will also have economic gains from providing the vaccine to countries in the region.

He stressed that the Chinese approval of the Sinovac production in Egypt proves China's confidence in its scientific, technological and industrial capabilities.

Keen cooperation

"This also means that China and Egypt are keen to strengthen their mutual cooperation for the interest of the two peoples," he said.

Egypt is also seeking to expand its production capacity of the Chinese vaccine. Last week, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told reporters that his government is in talks with the Chinese side to double the supply of vaccine raw materials in order to produce 600,000 doses per day.

The World Health Organization welcomed the vaccine production cooperation between Egypt and China.

"The cooperation between Egypt and China is a successful model for international cooperation and transfer of global expertise, which contributes to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," said Naeema Al-Gasseer, WHO representative in Egypt, in a statement last week.

The WHO official said the cooperation between Egypt and China in this regard helps achieve Goal 3.8, concerning the "access to quality essential healthcare services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines".

The WHO also commended Egypt's plan to vaccinate 40 percent of its citizens and residents by the end of this year, saying it is consistent with the organization's call.

It agreed with Egypt's plan to "achieve self-sufficiency in vaccines to become a center for exporting vaccines in Africa".


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