File Photo: Health Minister Hala Zayed
Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed stated on Friday that the first five million doses of Sinovac vaccine will be locally produced within two months.
Zayed explained that Chinese experts are due to visit Egypt next week to start the process of producing the vaccine.
This comes within the agreement Egypt’s VACSERA signed on Wednesday with China’s Sinovac biopharmaceutical company and allows the production of 40 to 60 million doses this year, Zayed said in a phone interview on MBC Misr channel.
Zayed said it “is the beginning of manufacturing vaccines in Egypt,” stressing that Egypt is diversifying its sources to obtain the vaccine.
She added that the country expects a new shipment of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine on 27 April in addition to a large-quantity of AstraZeneca vaccine under the global COVAX agreement next month.
In earlier statements, Zayed said Egypt will receive 500,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in late April as part of previously agreed upon 20 million doses, and to get the 4.5 million remaining doses of AstraZeneca under COVAX in May.
The country has so far received over 1.5 million doses of both the Chinese and the Indian-British vaccine.
To achieve Egypt’s goal of self-sufficiency and later on export to African countries, another agreement was signed on Thursday between Minapharm pharmaceutical company and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to manufacture over 40 million doses annually of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Cairo.
The Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) approved the Russian vaccine for emergency use in February, a month after approving the Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Egypt, which is witnessing the third wave of the pandemic, has seen a slow but steady increase in detected cases since early April.
The country has so far reported 220,658 infections, including 166,024 recoveries and 12,959 deaths.
State officials have been urging citizens to adopt preventive measures against the virus, especially in Ramadan, as the government is betting on public awareness and its mass vaccination campaign which began last month to curb the spread of the virus.
Until Sunday, according to the health ministry, a total of 660,000 Egyptians have been vaccinated and more than 1.5 million people have registered for vaccination since the ministry launched its website http://www.egcovac.mohp.gov.eg/ in March.