Chinese laboratory Sinovac Wednesday announced it will build a plant in Chile to locally distribute 60 million yearly doses of the Coronavac vaccine against COVID-19 with which to supply other Latin American countries.
Once the factory produces vaccines here, they will be able to be exported to Latin America, said Chile's Health Minister Enrique Paris.
The new packaging plant to be set up in Santiago's Metropolitan Region and will start operating in the first half of 2022, is expected to base its output on preparations imported from China, Sinovac and Chilean authorities said Wednesday.
The US $ 60 million investment by Sinovac also contemplates a future plant in the northern region of Antofagasta which would allow for the drug to be produced entirely in Chile.
Outside Chile, Coronavac has also been administered in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay.
The Sinovac plant will also produce doses of preparations against influenza and hepatitis.
We decided, first, to install a filling and packaging plant in the Metropolitan Region; that is the first step, Sinovac vice president Weining Meng said. With a special focus on development and research in vaccines, we visited Antofagasta and we are ready to start the process of installing an R&D center in that place, but for that we will need more time, to have a more detailed plan, he adeed.
Paris also pointed out that today is a very important day because Chile announces the return to the national production of vaccines, something the country had started doing in 1867 but stopped 18 years ago. But it is not only an important day for Chile, because once the factory produces vaccines here, they will be able to export to Latin America, he went on.
The Health Minister also expressed Chile's willingness to help other countries which have had difficulties acquiring vaccines during the pandemic.
Here there is also a concept of solidarity, of international friendship at Latin American level, of collaborating with our brothers and making progress in managing and fighting the pandemic, Paris stressed.
Chilean authorities have reported that six months into the mass inoculation process, the Coronavac vaccine was 89.6% effective in preventing admission to intensive care units (ICU) due to COVID-19. The results also showed an 86.38% effectiveness in preventing death with Coronavac, of which 19.7 million doses have been applied.