Morocco’s Sothema to produce China’s Sinopharm vaccine

FILE PHOTO: The 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing
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RABAT (Reuters) -Moroccan pharmaceutical firm Sothema will soon start production of 5 million doses a month of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in the North African country, state news agency MAP reported on Monday.

The announcement was made at a ceremony chaired by King Mohammed VI during which the Moroccan government, Sinopharm and Sothema, whose formal name is Société Thérapeutique Marocaine, also signed deals to produce the vaccine in Morocco, which has a population of about 36 million.

At the same event, the Moroccan government also signed a deal with Sweden’s Recipharm to set up a plant in Morocco to produce other key vaccines.

Morocco, which rolled out a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in January, has inoculated more people against the virus than other African countries. It had administered 19.23 million doses of the Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines as of July 5.

The country has received 20.4 million doses so far and plans to inoculate everyone over the age of 17. Morocco has registered 534,550 COVID-19 infections and 9,319 deaths due to the virus.

(Reporting by Ahmed EljechtimiEditing by Paul Simao and Jonathan Oatis)