China’s Sinopharm vaccine gaining popularity in Africa, as Tunisia grants approval

TUNISIA – Tunisian Ministry of Health has announced that China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine has been officially approved for marketing in the country.

“The Ministry of Health has granted an exceptional and provisional marketing authorization in the Tunisian market for China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine,” said a ministry statement.

The marketing authorization was granted after the issue was evaluated by the specialized committee in the field of virology, toxicology and the Technical Committee for Pharmaceutical Specialties.

Since the start of the national vaccination campaign against the coronavirus on March 13, a total of 2,156,240 people have received the vaccines, with 631,083 taking two doses, according to the latest figures published by the ministry.

China is continually popularizing its vaccines in Africa through collaborating with governments to develop and locally produce these Covid-19 vaccines formulated in the Asian country.

China, not so long ago, signed a deal with Morocco to start using the established facilities of a Moroccan pharmaceutical firm to make 5 million doses a month of Sinopharm vaccines, according to a notice released by Sinopharm.

This will be China’s second vaccine production line in Africa after one in Egypt.

In relation to this, on Monday, Egypt announced that it had produced the first 1 million doses of vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac, using its local facilities, with the daily output reaching 300,000 doses.

Sinovac has delivered raw materials that can yield 2 million doses of vaccines, and it has also dispatched technicians to supervise the vaccine production process, the report said.

So far, China has offered COVID-19 vaccines to more than 40 African nations and the AU Commission.

At the same time, China will continue to support the localization of vaccine production in the continent, President Xi Jinping said on Monday night in a videoconference with leaders of France and Germany.

In addition to the production lines, The Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) announced on Monday that it signed advance purchase agreements with Sinopharm and Sinovac for immediate supply of Sinopharm’s “BBIBP-Corv” vaccine and Sinovac’s “CoronaVac” vaccine to the COVAX facility.

The agreements will make available 110 million doses of Covid vaccines immediately available to participants of the COVAX facility, with options for additional doses.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s health regulator said last week it had received documentation for China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine and would evaluate the data to assess the efficacy of the shot, which lead to approval of the vaccine for use in the country on Sunday.

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