Li Can (left), president of China Sinopharm International Corporation, and Zhu Jingjin (right), vice president of CNBG, represent Sinopharm while signing the agreement, August 17, 2021. /CFP
Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm has signed an agreement with Bangladesh over the co-production of COVID-19 inactivated vaccines on Tuesday. Five million vaccines will be finished and dispensed monthly in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka if everything goes to plan.
The chairman of Sinopharm, Liu Jingzhen, explained the deal, "Supplying the finished products is normal conduct but it's more expensive. Packaging and dispensing vaccines at destination countries can reduce costs and improve productivity."
The agreement was signed between Sinopharm and Bangladeshi company Incepta. Members, representatives and government officials from both sides joined the signing ceremony online and offline in Beijing and Dhaka.
Bangladesh's ambassador to China, Mahbub Uz Zaman, hailed the agreement saying "I always say a friend in need is a friend indeed. When we needed vaccines, China came to our support. We needed vaccines for our expanded immunization program. I'm very happy that we all work as a team. When we sit down together and discuss all these issues, I know they have a lot of challenges. Internally, they are trying to vaccinate their own country, but they still stretch out in spite of the challenges."
Bangladesh has been receiving Chinese doses since May. So far, Sinopharm has supplied over 13 million inactivated vaccines to Bangladesh – another 60 million doses are on the way.
"We are always committed to realizing President Xi's promise to push for the vaccines to be fairly distributed as a global public good," Liu said. "This year, we are going to supply 2 billion vaccine doses to the world. As a state company, Sinopharm will continue to deepen our research and improve our productivity."
Sinopharm was the first Chinese company to join COVAX, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Their production has been registered or authorized for emergency use in 94 countries and regions.
Over 60 heads of states around the world have been inoculated with Sinopharm's vaccine.