Algeria to produce Chinese Sinovac vaccines as cases increase

Algeria to produce Chinese Sinovac vaccines as cases increase
The Chinese coronavirus vaccine Sinovac will now be manufactured in Algeria, authorities confirmed, as cases continue to increase.
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The move could speed up Algeria's inoculation drive [Getty]

Algeria will manufacture the Chinese coronavirus vaccine Sinovac locally, the government announced Saturday, in a country hit by rising cases and constrained by a patchy inoculation rollout.

Chinese experts arrived on Friday to inspect equipment destined for a factory in Constantine, in eastern Algeria, a statement from the pharmaceutical industry ministry said. 

Sinovac will be the second coronavirus vaccine to be produced in Algeria, with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V to be produced locally from September, according to authorities. 

The Pasteur Institute of Algeria announced on Saturday that it had received 2.4 million doses of Sinovac, bringing the total number of doses of all vaccines received so far by the country to nearly six million.

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The figure also includes Sputnik V, Sinopharm and AstraZeneca supplies.

But barely 10 percent of Algeria's population of 44 million has so far been inoculated against Covid-19, nearly six months into its vaccination campaign. 

The health minister said last month that the country had placed orders for 30 million doses with various producers. 

Algeria has so far officially recorded over 160,800 coronavirus infections, including more than 4,000 deaths. 

Read also: Chinese coronavirus vaccine may offer elderly poor protection: study

On Friday it recorded its highest number of daily infections yet, with 1,350 cases, driven by the Delta variant, which threatens to overwhelm hospitals. 

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is due to lead a cabinet meeting Sunday that is expected to discuss a new action plan to combat the virus.