Egypt seeks to export vaccines to African countries after fulfilling self-sufficiency: Health minister

Mohamed Soliman , Thursday 17 Jun 2021

The Egyptian Unified Procurement Authority will cooperate with the Ministry of Health to supply Africa with the vaccines

Hala Zayed
File photo: Egypt's Health Minister Hala Zayed speaks during a news conference in Ismailia, Egypt April 6, 2021. REUTERS

Egypt's Ministry of Health said on Thursday that the country will locally produce coronavirus vaccines to be exported to other African countries, with the assistance of the Egyptian Unified Procurement Authority (UPA), a government body tasked with making purchasing orders for medical supplies.

During a meeting held earlier today with UPA head Bahaa El-Din Zidan, Health Minister Hala Zayed assured that the production lines of the country's drugmaker VACSERA are ready to meet the planned target. 

"The meeting tackled the plan for locally producing COVID-19 vaccines and exporting them to Africa in cooperation with the Unified Procurement Authority after fulfilling local self-sufficiency," the ministry said in a statement following the meeting. 

Zayed also reviewed the results of her latest visit to Geneva earlier this week, which she said aimed at receiving the World Health Organization's (WHO) accreditation for the vaccines Egypt is currently manufacturing.

Egypt is currently manufacturing 2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine through VACSERA as part of a wider deal with the Chinese company to produce a total of 40 million doses by the end of 2021.

Egypt is also in talks to locally manufacture the British AstraZeneca vaccine.

A group of WHO experts were dispatched to Egypt in September to evaluate the production lines of the country's drugmaker, Zayed said during Thursday's meeting. 

Egypt has so far received a total of 3.3 million doses of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine, 2.2 million of which come under the COVAX agreement, which aims to ensure that vaccines are provided to all countries.

Cairo has also been supplied with a total of 3 million Chinese Sinopharm jabs over the past six months, along with 500,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine, another China-made vaccine.

Over 2 million citizens of the country’s 100 million-plus population have received the vaccines since the inoculation campaign started earlier this year. 

Today's meeting also touched upon means of cooperation to localise the collection and manufacturing of plasma derivatives, a national project on which the country has been focusing recently.

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