Egypt struggles to launch domestic vaccine production

Egypt struggles to launch domestic vaccine production as negotiations with Chinese companies stall
2 min read
18 February, 2021
Egypt has so far been unable to negotiate an agreement with Chinese state and private companies to produce coronavirus vaccines domestically, leading to delays in vaccine distribution.
Egypt is having a tough time securing vaccines [Getty]

Negotiations between the Egyptian government and Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm to begin producing a coronavirus vaccine in Egypt have failed to  failed to produce any results.

Cairo started vaccinating healthcare workers using China's Sinopharm jabs on 24 January, the first doses of which were delivered in December.

The failure of negotiations with Sinopharm and the resulting delay in manufacturing and distributing vaccines has forced the Egyptian government to turn to a private Chinese pharmaceutical company, SinoVac BioTech, The New Arab's Arabic service has reported.

Egypt's negotiations with SinoVac to produce its "CoronaVac" vaccine domestically appear to be bearing more fruit, sources have told the New Arab's Arabic-language service.

CoronaVac is yet to be trialled in any Arab or African country.

The shot's reported efficacy against Covid-19 has varied widely. A large trial in Brazil gave a rate of 50.38% while another in Turkey put the figure at 91.25%.

While the vaccine is cheap to produce and can be stored at ordinary fridge temperatures, poor transparency and limited data from trials have led to a lack of confidence in its efficacy.

However, Egypt's continued delay in securing vaccines and failure to launch an effective vaccination campaign suggest that the Egyptian government may not take into this consideration.

Read also: Egypt to sell AstraZeneca vaccine to citizens ‘who can afford it’

Despite the receiving 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in early February, key health workers are reporting severe delays in distribution.

The limited supplies have dimmed the hopes of teachers and other school employees, who the Egyptian government promised to vaccinate by March.

According to official figures, Egypt has recorded over 176,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and over 10,000 deaths.

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