Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Monday in a press conference that producing vaccines locally is a matter of national security, as there is a possibility that annual vaccines may be required to keep the coronavirus at bay.
Madbouly’s statement came as he visited on Monday the state owned Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) complex factory in 6 October City, along with Minister of Health Hala Zayed, to witness the first stage of producing the Chinese Sinovac vaccine locally.
Chinese ambassador to Cairo Liao Liqiang attended the event along other Egyptian officials
The new complex can produce nearly 3 million doses of different vaccines simultaneously.
Madbouly revealed that the government was working to finalise a number of agreements with international institutions in several countries to produce 8 vaccines that we need in Egypt, including vaccines for newborn babies, as well as other vaccines needed in the country to create self-sufficiency.
He also stated that Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi gave his directives to produce the vaccines locally due to the delay in delivery by some of the companies which Egypt contracted to get vaccines as a result of the huge global demand for vaccines.
Egypt received its first shipment — 1,400 litres — of Beijing-based Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine's raw material in May, which is enough to manufacture 2 million doses at VACSERA.
The 2 million shots are part of a wider deal with the Chinese company to produce a total of 40 million doses by the end of 2021 in Egypt, which aims to vaccinate 40 percent of its 100 million-plus population by that time.
The local production of the Sinovac vaccine, approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use on 1 June and by the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) in April, comes within Egypt's aim to become a manufacturing vaccine hub for Africa after meeting local needs.
The government is also in talks to locally manufacture the British AstraZeneca vaccine at VACSERA’s factories in 6 October City, according to previous statements by Health Minister Zayed.
Egypt, whose daily detected infections have been receding since late May, began its vaccination campaign in January and has so far inoculated more than 2.5 million of its 100 million-plus population with the Chinese Sinopharm and British-Indian AstraZeneca vaccines, according to the WHO's figures.
The country has received 10 million doses as of July. It is expected to receive more Sinovac raw materials to produce 7.5 million doses locally according to Egyptian officials.