Egypt is to complete the construction of a $50 million vaccines storage facility in July for the storage of about 150 million doses of COVID-19 and other vaccines annually.
The Chairman of Egypt’s Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA), Dr Heba Wali, made the announcement in Cairo on Monday.
Wali gave this indication when she hosted 27 top journalists from 22 African countries, currently in Egypt on the invitation of the Egyptian Government.
She said that the facility is being built as part of an initiative by the Egyptian Government to make the country the hub of vaccines production in Africa.
Wali said that Egypt currently has capacity to produce the country’s COVID-19 vaccine needs, noting, however, that VACSERA is getting technical support from China in its COVID-19 vaccine production.
The chairman expressed her optimism that Egypt would be producing up to 60 per cent of the vaccines needs of the African continent by 2040.
She said that the World Health Organisation had since selected Egypt as one of the global centres of COVID-19 vaccine production.
Wali said that VACSERA is also looking forward to starting production of vaccines to tackle Evian flu and pneumonia, which had posed severe health problems in many African countries over the years.
According to her, VACSERA also has capacity to produce 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines annually, saying that 70 million doses were produced in five months at the peak of the pandemic.
There has been 254,000 deaths and 12.086 million reported infections in Africa since the outbreak of the disease in 2019 with Egypt recording about 24,690 deaths, according to WHO statistics.
She disclosed that the first shipment of the vaccines was made to Palestine in a gesture to help the Middle East nation to fight off its COVID-19 challenges.
Wali said that VACSERA is developing a strategy with Centres for Disease Control in other African countries to find a common ground for vaccines production in the continent.
The chairman traced the history of vaccines production in Egypt to 1897 after an outbreak of smallpox in the North African country in 1893.
She said that the country formally established a labouratory for making vaccines in 1941, describing Egypt as a pacesetter in the global effort to develop vaccines for various diseases.
VACSERA, which has its headquarters at Agouza in Egypt’s Giza District, currently has about 3,000 workers.