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Work starts on Europe's first plant for Chinese jab

China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-11 07:38

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's president, helps to lay the foundation stone for a COVID-19 vaccine plant at a ceremony in Belgrade on Thursday. [Photo/Xinhua]

BELGRADE-Construction work began in Serbia on Thursday on Europe's first production plant for a Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccine.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 30 million doses a year of a vaccine from Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm, from April 2022. It is expected that supplies will go to Serbia and a number of other countries in the region.

The foundation stone for the factory was laid by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in the presence of Chinese Ambassador Chen Bo, according to a statement from the president's office.

Vucic said that he was proud that Serbia, together with partners from China and the United Arab Emirates, was "trying and seems to be able to solve some global problems".

"This is not a partnership of interest but a proof of friendship," he said.

In January, Serbia started mass vaccinations with the Sinopharm jab, which has been the most widely used COVID-19 vaccine in the country. The country has been giving citizens a number of vaccines.

In June, Serbia started to produce Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at the Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera in Belgrade.

Chinese vaccines, including Sinopharm's and one from Sinovac Biotech, have been approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday, while addressing the 13th BRICS summit via video link, that China will strive to provide 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the world by the end of this year.

Xi said China, to date, has provided over 1 billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations.

Since the pandemic broke out, China has sent medical aid and batches of vaccines to Serbia and helped build two so-called Fire Eye laboratories for polymerase chain reaction testing. Chinese doctors spent months helping set up prevention measures in the country.




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