The African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) expressed on Tuesday its willingness to cooperate with the Egyptian health ministry and government to produce various types of coronavirus vaccines to protect the African people’s health.
This came during a meeting between Health Minister Hala Zayed, head of the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement Bahaa El-Din Zidan, and Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah.
The meeting reviewed a plan to send Egypt a shipment of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine that was procured under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), a statement by the Egyptian health ministry read.
It also comes a day after Egypt received its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, comprising 261,600 doses. Health Minister Zayed said on Tuesday that 700,000 doses of the American vaccine will be provided in the coming period.
The shipment is part of a procurement agreement the AVAT signed in March with Johnson & Johnson to purchase 220 million doses for African nations. The AVAT plans to send 6.4 million doses to countries within the African Union throughout August.
During the meeting, Oramah hailed the huge production capacity that Egyptian drug factories have in terms of producing medicine and vaccines, the statement read.
The Egyptian health minister affirmed the country’s willingness to meet the needs of African states concerning coronavirus vaccination after Egypt’s local needs are covered.
This can be carried out through the local production of vaccines in the factories of the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA), Zayed said.
She emphasised the readiness of VACSERA’s factories to manufacture different types of coronavirus vaccines and distribute doses to the rest of Africa through the AVAT, with the aim of localising vaccine manufacturing in Africa.
Zayed also stressed Egypt’s ability to manufacture different types of vaccines to combat the various diseases in the African continent, expressing Egypt’s readiness to transfer its manufacturing technology to African states and to send medical teams to exchange expertise.
Egypt is also capable of providing other African nations with drugs for Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and other diseases through the Egyptian medical city GYPTO Pharma, as per the directives of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Zayed added.
For his part, Oramah hailed Egypt’s management of the coronavirus pandemic and affirmed the AVAT’s readiness to cooperate with Egypt as a contributor to the distribution of vaccine doses in Africa.
The Afreximbank president also praised the AVAT’s role in this regard, saying it is the first time for African nations to allocate all their resources to provide vaccines, fully control the pandemic, and protect the health of African people.
Oramah said it is expected that the shipments of coronavirus vaccines arriving to African Union states, including Egypt, will increase in September.
The Egyptian national campaign to vaccinate the population against the coronavirus so far uses the Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines as well as the British AstraZeneca and Russian Sputnik V vaccines.
The country has already locally produced a million Sinovac doses as per an agreement with the Chinese company and is also planning to produce Sputnik doses to cover the local needs and export excess doses to other African states.