Following Monday’s announcement that several thousand Ecuadorians will participate in phase 3 trials of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos disclosed Tuesday that he is negotiating with developers to produce the vaccine in Ecuador. “We are eager to participate in the trials but we are also very interested in being involved in the production and distribution process,” he said. “In preliminary talks, Sinovac officials seem very interested.”
According to Zevallos, vaccine production costs in Ecuador would be low, comparable to those in China, and local production would mean the country would have ready access to vaccines. “We are beginning to see production and distribution delays with the Pfizer and Moderna products in Europe and the U.S. and I am concerned that we could be forced to wait for months for these to arrive,” he said.
Zevallos says he is impressed with the quality of Sinovac. “The results to date have been impressive and they have been verified in the U.S. and EU. Sinovac uses traditional vaccine technology, which means more is known about outcomes and potential side affects, which is emerging as a concern for Pfizer and Moderna.”
Sinovac’s vaccine, called CoronaVac, works by using dead viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response. By comparison, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA vaccines, a relatively new technology.
Pending final trial results and approval by international and national authorities, Zevallos says the Sinovac vaccines could begin production as early as late January or early February.
Despite distribution concerns, the Ministry of Health still expects to receive 50,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of January. The first doses will be administered to health care and emergency services personnel.
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8,000 without water in Chordeleg
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