Chinese vaccine makers increase local production in Africa amid Europe’s inaction

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Boxes of Sinovac vaccine donated by China are seen at Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport in Lomé, Togo on April 23, 2021. The government of Togo on Friday received a batch of Sinovac vaccine donated by China in support of its fight against COVID-19 as part of the cooperation between the two countries. Photo: Xinhua

Africa will continue to benefit from vaccine support from China, which keeps its promise to help the continent overcome its difficulties, Chinese observers said on Tuesday, after two major Chinese vaccine companies located production lines in the region. Morocco and Egypt.

More Chinese vaccine manufacturing lines are expected to be built in Africa – potentially in South Africa and Zambia – observers said. The move comes at a time when the African continent is in the throes of a third wave of COVID-19 infections and African countries are disappointed by empty promises from European nations.

China has signed an agreement with Morocco to start using the established facilities of a Moroccan pharmaceutical company to manufacture 5 million doses per month of Sinopharm vaccines, according to a notice published by Sinopharm on Tuesday.

Morocco’s health minister said during the signing ceremony on Monday that the project will increase the national vaccine supply in Morocco and send supplies to the African continent and even the world.

It is China’s second vaccine production line in Africa after one in Egypt.

Also on Monday, Egypt announced that it had produced the first million doses of vaccines developed by Chinese company Sinovac, using its local facilities, with daily production reaching 300,000 doses. If the supply of raw materials is sufficient, daily output could double, China Central Television reported, citing Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

Madbouly said locating Sinovac vaccine production is vital for Egypt, and the country hopes China could provide more support for expanding Egypt’s production capacity.

Sinovac delivered raw materials that could produce 2 million doses of vaccine, and also sent technicians to oversee the vaccine production process, according to the report.

As China honors its pledge to make Chinese COVID-19 vaccines a global public good and actively contribute to the global fight against the epidemic, Europe’s promises but inaction to deliver vaccines to Africa have disappointed the continent.

Strive Masiyiwa, the African Union special envoy who has been delegated to lead efforts to buy COVID-19 vaccines for the continent, blasted Europe, saying “not a dose, not a vial, no ‘left a European factory for Africa, “according to an Associated Press report.

He Wenping, director of the African studies section at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that since the start of the pandemic, China and the Africa have shown solidarity in overcoming difficulties, not only with words but with real actions.

China is keeping its promise to help Africa get through the public health crisis, which is in stark contrast to some Western countries which are only making gestures out of political calculation, accumulating vaccine orders or restricting exports of raw materials, did he declare.

Song Wei, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Tuesday that moving production to Africa will increase access to vaccines, help boost the economic recovery of local partners and help. new industrial capacity cooperation with China in the post-pandemic era.

China’s support for Africa comes without any political conditions, and it helps the continent to develop a capacity for independent development. This has been the traditional way of helping China to Africa since 1956, Song said.

China has offered COVID-19 vaccines to more than 40 African countries and the AU Commission. At the same time, China will continue to support the localization of vaccine production on the mainland, President Xi Jinping said on Monday evening during a video conference with French and German leaders.

The possibility of more Chinese vaccine production lines being launched in Africa cannot be ruled out, according to Song. She said “we are cautiously positive about having more vaccine production lines in Africa due to the relatively underdeveloped public health facilities and capacities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa and Zambia are the two potential countries where China could establish vaccine production lines. ”

The AU has stressed the need to scale up the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa in order to achieve universal and equitable access, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

However, the dramatic vaccine divide cannot simply be reversed by China’s contribution, experts said, calling on the United States and other countries to act to balance vaccine distribution to achieve herd immunity. global.

The PA quoted Masiyiwa as saying Africa needs 1.6 billion doses in a double-dose regimen, or 800 million in a single-dose regimen, to meet the goal of immunizing 60 percent of the population. .

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