South China Morning Post, April 2021
China is trying to reshape its pharmaceutical industry and take on an unprecedented role as a major vaccine supplier to the rest of the world in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to produce enough doses to vaccinate 70 per cent of the country’s population, or 980 million people, and the same amount for export by the end of the year, according to Feng Duojia, president of China Association for Vaccines. By March, more than 100 million doses had been exported, about the same as the combined exports from India and the European Union.
Feng said the target is to produce 5 billion doses of Covid-19 by the end of next year. The figure is about 10 times its total vaccine output before the start of the pandemic – in 2019 the Chinese drug regulator signed off 528 million doses of domestic vaccines. “China is building 18 production lines and each large-scale production line is like building a new China National Biotec Group,” Feng said, referring to the dominant player in the national vaccine making industry.Biotec, a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), and Sinovac have produced 250 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines which have been administered in China and overseas.