CAIRO, April 8 (Reuters) - Egypt has agreed with China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine domestically, aiming to produce up to 60 million doses per year, its health minister Hala Zayed said on Thursday.
The agreement could provide a major boost to vaccination efforts in Egypt, which has thus far received 1.5 million doses and has a population of 100 million.
Egypt's cabinet and presidency had approved a joint manufacturing agreement to make the vaccines that will be distributed in Egypt and to other African countries, Zayed said.
One production facility is prepared to produce 20 million doses annually, while another is being completed to raise capacity to 60 million, Zayed added.
Egypt has so far received 854,400 doses of the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca as well as another 650,000 of the Chinese vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The number of Sinopharm doses received would soon rise to 1 million, Zayed said.
Egypt began vaccinating frontline medical staff against COVID-19 on Jan. 24 and expanded its vaccination roll-out on March 4 to include the elderly and people with chronic diseases. (Reporting by Aidan Lewis and Nafisa Eltahir Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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