Chinese officials are indicating that China should be able to produce 3 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.
Rabat – China, which is one of Morocco’s key vaccine suppliers, is expecting to produce 3 billion vaccines in 2021, of which most are destined for export.
A Chinese National Health Commission official told Reuters on Saturday, April 10 that the country is confident it can produce the large number of vaccines.
The head of China’s vaccine program Zheng Zhongwei made the announcement at a manufacturing event in Chengdu, adding that “in the second half of this year, we are fully capable of meeting our own demand.”
According to Chinese governmental data, China’s vaccine production has tripled between February 1 and the end of March. The country is currently producing 5 million doses a day.
China produces two main vaccines that make up the bulk of the projected 3 billion vaccines.
Sinovac aims to produce 2 billion doses, while Morocco’s preferred Chinese vaccine manufacturer Sinopharm aims to produce 1.1 billion of its two versions. Sinopharm has announced it aims to further increase its own capacity to 3 billion without providing a specific deadline.
Good news for Morocco
The news will be welcomed in Rabat, where the national vaccination campaign is vulnerable to supply shortages from vaccine manufacturers abroad. Fears over shortages mounted following India’s decision to halt Oxford/AstraZeneca exports as the south Asian country grapples with its own national health crisis.
Those fears were confirmed when Morocco World News spoke to Doctor Mustapha Ennaji, a prominent virologist and part of the council overseeing Morocco’s vaccination campaign. Dr Ennaji highlighted that although Morocco’s campaign had been well-planned, the reality of “vaccine nationalism” means that the country is “at the mercy” of foreign suppliers.
While millions of vaccines are being produced around the world, many countries where vaccine manufacturers are located are limiting exports in order to prioritize domestic vaccination.
China is not following this strategy as it has been a global leader in fighting its own domestic epidemic prior to the emergence of vaccines. Tough lockdowns and state-controlled initiatives have meant that the country of 1.3 billion reports only a few dozen new cases each day.
Without a domestic crisis, China is able to use its manufacturing capabilities for export, ensuring that many countries left out of the vaccine competition are able to purchase the much needed vaccines.