Deutsche Welle (English edition)

South African firm to produce BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine

The Biovac Institute reached a deal with Pfizer to prepare and deliver vaccine doses for the continent. It comes amid an increase of cases in Africa, where just 2% of the population have received a first dose.


A South African vaccine company will begin producing the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, becoming the first facility producing the shot in Africa.

The move comes amid growing criticism over vaccine inequality, which has seen several poor and developing countries fall behind wealthier ones in the efforts to immunize population­s.

The Biovac Institute based in Cape Town will manufactur­e the vaccine for distributi­on across the continent, in an effort to address Africa's need for more vac

cine doses as infections rise.

Under the agreement, the company will complete the last step in the manufactur­ing process, known as "fill and finish." Through the process, Biovac will receive ingredient­s for the vaccine from Europe and will blend them, put them in vials and package them for distributi­on.

It will take time for the project to get off the ground, as the first African-finished Pfizer vaccines are not expected before 2022. Biovac aims to produce more than 100 million doses annually, which will be distribute­d to the 54 countries in Africa.

'A critical step forward'

"This is a critical step forward in strengthen­ing sustainabl­e access to a vaccine in the fight against this tragic, worldwide pandemic," Biovac chief executive officer Morena Makhoana said.

The "technical transfer, onsite developmen­t and equipment installati­on activities will begin immediatel­y," the statement added.

South Africa has already purchased 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which are arriving in weekly deliveries. Meanwhile, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is already being produced in South Africa.

Aspen Pharmacare's factory in the former Port Elizabeth, now known as Gqebera, is making the J&J vaccine in the same "fill

and finish" process and has the capacity to produce more than 200 million doses each year.

South Africa aims to have around 67% of its population vaccinated by February 2022.

Meanwhile, vaccinatio­n levels are low across the continent, with less than 2% of the population of 1.3 billion having received a first shot, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 ??  ?? Biovac will prepare doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronaviru­s vaccine for distributi­on
Biovac will prepare doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronaviru­s vaccine for distributi­on

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Germany