A health worker holds a package of Sinovac/VACSERA coronavirus vaccine vials. Egyptian health ministry
Egypt has released the first 1 million doses of its locally-produced Sinovac/VACSERA vaccine after the completion of the required evaluation tests, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday.
The manufacturing of the Sinovac doses is part of an agreement signed between the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) and the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
The first million Sinovac/VACSERA doses were produced early in July, with the country planning to manufacture 40 million doses of the Chinese vaccine by the end of the year at VACSERA factories.
The release comes only two days after the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) granted the Sinovac/VACSERA vaccine an emergency use license.
The 1 million doses have been distributed to coronavirus vaccination centres nationwide, totalling 657 so far, including 145 centres for those travelling abroad, health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.
Megahed noted that the country is also in the final stages of manufacturing and evaluating 15 million doses of the vaccine, which represent VACSERA’s production capacity per month, in preparation for their distribution to vaccination centres.
The doses have been released after passing the necessary evaluation tests in accordance with the global rules followed by the World Health Organisation to assess the safety, quality and effectiveness of vaccines, Megahed added.
Minister of Health Hala Zayed, via video conference on Wednesday, extended thanks to the VACSERA staff, hailing the company’s achievement as a qualitative and historic leap, according to the statement.
To date, Egypt’s vaccination campaign has included the use of the imported version of the Sinovac vaccine along with the Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sinopharm vaccines.
This comes in addition to the country’s plans to produce millions of Sinovac and Sputnik shots annually to cover local and African needs.
The government has set a goal to vaccinate 40 million citizens by the end of the year, representing around 40 percent of population, a step hailed by WHO.