Covid Vaccine To Be Made In South Africa By Pfizer/BioNTech
BioNTech and Pfizer, the producers of the Covid vaccine, announced on Wednesday that the vaccine will be manufactured in South Africa starting in 2022, a first for the continent that might help accelerate much-needed immunisation campaigns.
Poor countries have lagged behind affluent countries in the fight to protect people from the coronavirus, prompting widespread condemnation of pharmaceutical companies and governments.
According to the firms, Biovac, based in Cape Town, will complete the final step in the production process of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, known as “fill and finish.”
The project will take some time to get off the ground, with the first Pfizer vaccinations made in Africa not expected until next year.
Biovac is expected to produce more than 100 million doses per year once it is up and operating, which will be given to the African Union’s 55 member countries.
Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac, said, “This is a major step forward in establishing sustainable access to a vaccine in the battle against this devastating, worldwide pandemic.”
“Activities such as technical transfer, on-site development, and equipment installation will begin right away.”
The alliance, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, is a “breakthrough” for African countries.
“Protecting Africans is an essential and critical contribution to the defense of humanity as a whole,” said Ramaphosa, who previously warned that wealthier countries holding Covid-19 vaccine may lead to “vaccine apartheid.”
The World Health Organization’s response was quiet.
“We support all future plans to enhance Covid-19 vaccine production, but immediate action is required right now,” said a spokesman.
“Only one percent of people in low-income nations have received at least one dose,” he noted, compared to more than half of persons in high-income countries.
Based on experimental mRNA technology, the coronavirus vaccine produced by BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer was the first to be licensed in the West late last year.
It has been demonstrated in studies to be particularly effective against Covid-19, even newer versions.
Another plant in South Africa is already handling the fill and finish process for Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 injection, which is based on a classic viral vector-based technique.
Pharmaceutical companies have been urged to drop patents on life-saving vaccines in order to speed up the global vaccination rate.
The plan has received support from Washington and Paris, but vaccine manufacturers are vehemently opposed.
Suspending intellectual property rights, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, would hinder innovation and would not alleviate the shortage of it. Brief News from Washington Newsday.