Algeria Begins Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine Production

File photo: A Sinovac Biotech LTD vaccine candidate for COVID-19 coronavirus is seen on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on September 6, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

 

Algeria on Wednesday started producing the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac, with production expected to be eight million doses a month.

Prime Minister Aimene Benabderrahmane, who attended the launch of the production process at a factory in the eastern city of Constantine, called it a “big achievement”.

Production could be doubled in the North African nation if needed, officials said.

“Algeria… aims to achieve other projects of this kind,” Benabderrahmane said, praising the country’s pharmaceutical industry.

Lotfi Djamel Benbahmed, Algeria’s minister for the pharmaceutical industry, has said the country plans to export the vaccines.

He said Saidal, the firm making the jabs, was so far the only African company to be licenced to produce the jab.

Following a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in past months, Algeria has seen a drop in recent weeks.

Algeria, the biggest African nation by size, announced this month a campaign to vaccinate some 70 percent of its 44 million population by the end of the year.

AFP

Chinese Vaccine Maker Seeks Regulatory Approval In Brazil

A medical worker shows a syringe with the Sinovac Biotech vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus at a healthcare centre in Yantai, in eastern China's Shandong province on January 5, 2021. STR / AFP
A medical worker shows a syringe with the Sinovac Biotech vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus at a healthcare centre in Yantai, in eastern China’s Shandong province on January 5, 2021. STR / AFP

 

Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac’s local partner in Brazil applied Friday for emergency authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, the first to seek regulatory approval in the hard-hit country, officials said.

Federal health regulator Anvisa now has 10 days to respond to the application from the Butantan Institute, a public health center in Sao Paulo that is working with Sinovac to test and produce the CoronaVac vaccine.

The application came a day after officials announced CoronaVac had shown effectiveness of 78 percent in clinical trials in Brazil, news that Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria called “historic.”

Sinovac has not yet released worldwide results from the final stage of clinical trials, which are also being carried out in Chile, Indonesia and Turkey.

The company has faced criticism for not supplying full data.

In Brazil, CoronaVac has been caught up in a political battle between Doria and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, likely opponents in presidential elections next year.

Doria pushed for a deal to test and produce the vaccine in Brazil. But Bolsonaro, who says he does not plan to be vaccinated himself, has derided it as “Joao Doria’s Chinese vaccine.”

The federal government instead struck a deal to secure the vaccine developed by Britain’s Oxford University and British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

But it is scrambling to purchase enough doses for Brazil’s population of 212 million, and faces criticism for a delay in setting the start date for its vaccination campaign.

After initially dismissing CoronaVac, Brazil’s health ministry announced Thursday it had signed a deal with the Butantan Institute for 100 million doses of the vaccine for use nationwide.

Brazil has the second-highest death toll in the pandemic, after the United States, with more than 200,000 people killed by Covid-19.

 

AFP

Indonesia’s President To Receive Country’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Shot

 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Wednesday he would be the first person in the country to be vaccinated for Covid-19 as he unveiled a campaign promising free inoculations for everyone in world’s fourth most-populous nation.

Widodo’s announcement comes as Indonesia battles misinformation over the virus in order to stave off a fresh wave of infections, with some 630,000 recorded by Wednesday and more than 19,000 deaths.

“The Covid-19 vaccine for all citizens will be FREE,” Widodo said in a video on his Twitter account.

The government originally said only health workers, the elderly and other key personnel would be given the vaccine for free.

Widodo did not say when he would take the vaccine, or when the national inoculation program would start.

But said he was happy to be the first to be inoculated in order to prove it was safe.

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“There’s no reason people shouldn’t get the vaccine or doubt its safety,” he added.

Indonesia has signed deals for more than 350 million vaccine doses from various international pharmaceutical companies — including British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Chinese suppliers Sinovac.

The current vaccine deals do not, however, provide enough doses for the required two per person that would cover Indonesia’s entire 270-million population.

The country received its first delivery of 1.2 million Sinovac doses this month, with another 1.8 million to arrive in January.