Morocco launches construction of COVID vaccine factory | News on the coronavirus pandemic

Morocco hopes the factory will produce 116 million units of vaccines by 2024; the ban on flights to the kingdom will end on February 7.

Morocco has inaugurated the construction of a COVID vaccine manufacturing plant in partnership with Swedish company Recipharm, as the country also announced that it would end a flight ban in place since last November.

The factory, which will be known as Sensyo Pharmatech, will produce vaccines against the coronavirus and other diseases, with production expected to reach 116 million units in 2024, the official MAP news agency reported on Thursday. .

It was launched in Benslimane, a region of Morocco’s economic hub of Casablanca, during a ceremony attended by King Mohamed VI.

The plant will require investments of between 400 and 500 million euros ($445 to 557 million) and aims to ensure “self-sufficiency” in vaccines for the North African kingdom.

MAP added that the objective was to manufacture, between 2022 and 2025, “active substances for more than 20 vaccines, including three against the coronavirus… to cover 70% of the kingdom’s needs and more than 60% of the needs across Africa”.

Morocco already produces the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, with more than three million doses manufactured per month.

By next month, it plans to produce five million doses and more than 20 million by the end of the year.

Home to 36 million people, Morocco hopes its vaccination campaign will help eradicate COVID-19.

More than 23 million people have already received a second dose against the coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health.

Authorities hope to vaccinate 80% of the population with Sinopharm or Pfizer-BioNTech.

In July, Recipharm announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Morocco and a consortium of the country’s major banks to build a vaccine and biotherapeutics production plant in the kingdom.

flight ban

Also on Thursday, Morocco announced it would end a ban on flights to the kingdom in place since November 29 in a bid to limit the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

A government statement released by MAP said the ban would end on February 7.

The decision follows “the evolving epidemiological situation in the kingdom”, the statement said, adding that entry requirements for visitors would be announced at a later date.

Rabat imposed restrictions on running initially from late November until December 31, although a mechanism was put in place for Moroccan citizens stranded abroad to return home.

But in December, Rabat stopped this mechanism, resulting in the de facto closure of the country’s borders.

The only passenger movements permitted under the current rules have been one-off repatriation flights for foreign citizens in the kingdom, permitted on a case-by-case basis.

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