CAIRO: Egypt received on Friday the first batch of components to locally produce 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine.
According to the country’s health ministry, the delivery includes 1,400 liters of vaccine components as part of the agreement signed between Sinovac and the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA).
The country is expected to manufacture 40 million Sinovac doses in the first year of production, health authorities said.
As part of Egypt’s efforts to urgently ramp up vaccination efforts, the delivery to Cairo also included 500,000 ready-to-use doses of Sinopharm.
Hala Zayed, Egypt’s health minister, said that manufacturing coronavirus vaccines is a “historic step” for Egypt, adding that surplus vaccine supplies will be exported.
The minister said that 2 million doses of Sinovac will be delivered to vaccination centers across Egypt within a two-month period.
The vaccine production process begins with tests to analyze raw components in health ministry laboratories, followed by packaging and quality control, she added.
The China-Egypt vaccine agreement covers the transfer of production and manufacturing technology to enable Egypt to produce raw components locally in the future.
Egyptian authorities aim to produce coronavirus vaccines 100 percent domestically, Zayed said, adding that more than 70 percent of medicine components in the world are produced in China and India.
Zayed said that Egypt is completing preparations to open the second VACSERA factory on Oct. 6 in Giza to expand production levels.
Contracts will be signed with international companies to procure raw components to diversify vaccine production, she added.
The minister said that 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are scheduled to be received in a third batch, in addition to a further 1 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine in June.
Egypt has so far received 3 million doses of Sinopharm, including 1.5 million doses delivered by China as a gift, she said.
Zayed added that 95 percent of workers in the tourism sector have been vaccinated, and 100 percent of Egyptian prisoners will be vaccinated during the coming period in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior.