UAE to produce Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

The United Arab Emirates will start mass production of a coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese drug-maker Sinopharm.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

They agreed to cooperate further on anti-coronavirus measures.

The UAE government says it agreed to produce the Sinopharm vaccine at a new factory in Abu Dhabi.

Both governments have yet to disclose details of the manufacturing plan.

A UAE firm involved in the plan says its joint venture with Sinopharm has already started producing vaccines in a smaller scale.

The firm says the new factory will start operations later this year, with a production capacity of 200 million doses a year.

Last year, the UAE conducted clinical trials of the Sinopharm vaccine, and health authorities approved it in December. Since then, the country has been carrying out inoculations at a faster pace than most other countries.

The UAE is apparently trying to boost the supply of vaccines with the cooperation of China, which is furthering its economic expansion in the Middle East. The UAE also appears to be trying to increase its international presence by exporting vaccines to other countries.