By Raphael Oni
Her Excellency Hala Zayed, the Egyptian Minister of Health, said that the new coronavirus vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinopharm has proven effective and safe, indicating Cairo’s intention to manufacture the Chinese vaccine. She discloses that come June 2021 that Egypt will roll out production of the vaccines. The Minister addressing the Media in Cairo said that an agreement will also be signed with the Chinese company Sinovac to start manufacturing coronavirus vaccines in Egypt through the Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (Vacsera).
She said that the World Health Organization (WHO) sent international experts to assess the performance of Vacsera factories in preparation for the start of vaccine production in Egypt and export to African countries.
The minister announced that, with 17 Chinese vaccines in the process of clinical research, Egypt is seeking to participate in clinical trials of those vaccines in the third phase. She said that Egypt hopes to become a center for manufacturing the vaccine, both for local use and for export to African countries. The CEO of Sinovac had previously said that the company provided 160 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to 18 countries, including China.
During a press conference in Cairo, the minister said that the first 2 million doses will be produced in June at the plants of the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA). In her words, “We will receive the first shipment of the raw materials needed to manufacture the vaccine on May 18,”. She added that 40 million doses will be produced in the first year.
Zayed noted that two agreements were signed between Sinovac and the VACSERA in April, with the first one enabling the Egyptian side to obtain the expertise and technical assistance to produce the vaccine, while the second giving the VACSERA the license to manufacture and pack the vaccine in its factories.
Egypt started in late January vaccinating the medical staff of governmental hospitals with a COVID-19 vaccine made by another leading Chinese drugmaker, Sinopharm, the first-approved vaccine by the Egyptian Drug Authority. In early March, the most populous Arab country began vaccinating the elderly people and patients with chronic diseases against the highly infectious coronavirus.