Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed announced Friday that Egypt will begin locally producing the first five million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine within two months.
During a phone interview with the TV show “al-Hekaya” (The Story), Zayed stated that the vaccination process against the coronavirus is a great challenge, especially since the sources for manufacturing these vaccines are in the EU and India.
She explained that around 50 percent of produced vaccines have only been distributed to two countries, while the other half has had 80 percent sent to 10 countries.
This meant that only 12 countries total have received this vaccine as they have manufactured it, she said.
Zayed said that manufacturing the vaccines with the Chinese company producing Sinovac took several months.
“The process began in September, when we asked the World Health Organization to send a delegation of experts in the field of manufacturing. Indeed, they sent the delegation in the same month and visited the production lines in a factory and they worked for four consecutive days,” she said.
Zayed continued, “I held a meeting with them on the fourth day, and they issued a report on the validity of the vaccine production line, and at that time we worked with Sinovac, and the signed agreement in the presence of the prime minister and the Chinese ambassador was implemented went into effect.”
She said that the agreement allows for production of 40 to 60 million doses during this year.
Egypt’s vaccination campaign that began in January is still working to vaccinate medical staff, people over the age of 65, and those with chronic illnesses, but registration for the vaccine is open to all.
The vaccine should cost no more than LE200 per person, Zayed announced, with low-income folks eligible to get their doses for free.
Egypt is currently using China’s Sinopharm vaccine and the UK’s AstraOxford vaccine. So far, 100 million doses have been secured by the ministry through the COVAX initiative, which is enough to vaccinate roughly half of Egypt’s population.