Health Minister Hala Zated (C) during inspecting Egypt's drugmaker VACSERA on Sunday 20 June 2021 (Photo: the Ministry of Health)
Egypt has designated new production lines in VACSERA, the country’s leading drugmaker, to locally manufacture coronavirus vaccines, with a total production capacity of 3 million doses daily, a new step in the country’s strategy to become a regional hub for COVID-19 vaccines.
The lines, which are located at the state-owned pharmaceutical’s firm in 6 October City in Giza governorate, boasts 8 central laboratories for vaccine administration and a complex of medical refrigerators that can store 150 million shots, a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Health said on Sunday.
The ministry’s statement comes as Health Minister Hala Zayed inspected earlier today the latest progress in the new lines, which cost $17 million, in addition to EGP 80 million ($5.1 million) for construction, according to the ministry.
“VACSERA’s firms at 6 October City will be the largest complex for producing vaccines in the Middle East and Africa and will increase the production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines in cooperation with all producing companies the world over,” the statement quoted Zayed as saying.
The North African country seeks to locally produce coronavirus vaccines to be exported to other African countries after fulfilling local needs.
Egypt has already started manufacturing the first batch of 2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine through VACSERA’s firm at Al-Agouzah district in Giza governorate, as part of a wider deal with the Chinese company to produce a total of 40 million doses by the end of the current year.
Egypt is also in talks to locally manufacture the British AstraZeneca vaccine.
Egypt has so far received a total of 3.3 million doses of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine, 2.2 million of which came under the COVAX agreement, a global scheme that 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.
Minister Zayed said the new lines will also produce all kinds of Polio vaccines, and pneumococcal bacteria vaccines in cooperation with European companies, according to the statement.
Egypt’s total infection tally has reached 276,756 since the pandemic started, including 15,829 deaths and 205,157 recoveries.