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SA To Start Mak­ing Pfizer Vac­cine

SA to start mak­ing Pfizer vac­cine


– Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies BioN­Tech and Pfizer yes­ter­day said they had found a South African part­ner to pro­duce their Covid vac­cine lo­cally, the first such deal in Africa.

The move comes amid grow­ing crit­i­cism of vac­cine in­equal­ity that has seen poor coun­tries fall be­hind richer ones in the race to pro­tect peo­ple from the coron­avirus.

Un­der the agree­ment, Cape Town-based Bio­vac will com­plete the last step in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process of the Pfizer-BioN­Tech vac­cine, known as “fill and fin­ish”, the com­pa­nies said in a state­ment.

The project will take time to get off the ground, how­ever, with the first African-fin­ished vac­cines not ex­pected be­fore next year.

Once up and run­ning, Bio­vac is set to churn out more than 100 mil­lion doses an­nu­ally that will be dis­trib­uted to the 55 coun­tries in the African Union.

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

The “tech­ni­cal trans­fer, on­site de­vel­op­ment and equip­ment in­stal­la­tion ac­tiv­i­ties will be­gin im­me­di­ately”, it added.

The coron­avirus vac­cine de­vel­oped by BioN­Tech and its US part­ner Pfizer, based on mRNA tech­nol­ogy, was the first to be ap­proved in the West late last year.

Stud­ies have shown it is highly ef­fec­tive against Covid, in­clud­ing against newer and more con­ta­gious vari­ants.

With the vac­cine roll-outs well un­der­way in the West and sup­ply even out­strip­ping de­mand in some coun­tries, calls have grown for pharma com­pa­nies to waive patents on their life-sav­ing jabs.

This has been fiercely op­posed by the com­pa­nies them­selves and coun­tries like Ger­many, whose Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel says sus­pend­ing in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights could sti­fle in­no­va­tion and would not re­solve the lack of man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity in the short term.

She has, in­stead, ar­gued for li­cens­ing agree­ments and part­ner­ships be­tween vac­cine mak­ers and lo­cal firms, an ap­proach taken by BioN­Tech, a Ger­man com­pany.

“We aim to en­able peo­ple on all con­ti­nents to man­u­fac­ture and dis­trib­ute our vac­cine while en­sur­ing the qual­ity of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process and the doses,” said Ugur Sahin, BioN­Tech’s co­founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Pfizer-BioN­Tech said they had so far shipped more than one bil­lion Covid vac­cine doses to more than 100 coun­tries or ter­ri­to­ries, in­clud­ing through the global Covax vac­cine-shar­ing pro­gramme.

Covax, backed by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) and heav­ily re­lied upon by African coun­tries, has de­liv­ered fewer doses than ex­pected. WHO es­ti­mated this month that only two per­cent of the African pop­u­la­tion of around 16 mil­lion peo­ple were fully vac­ci­nated.

SA has the high­est num­ber of Covid cases and deaths in Africa, record­ing more than 2.3 mil­lion in­fec­tions and over 67 000 deaths.

The coun­try is cur­rently bat­tling a bru­tal third wave of the pan­demic, fu­elled by a lack of vac­cines, pub­lic fa­tigue with Covid re­stric­tions and the rise of the highly con­ta­gious delta vari­ant.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa last month an­nounced a plan to turn SA into an mRNA vac­cine hub, say­ing Africans “can­not con­tinue to rely on vac­cines that are made out­side of Africa be­cause they never come”. –

A crit­i­cal step in sus­tain­able ac­cess to vac­cine

Content created and supplied by: BornOfChrist (via Opera News )

Africa BioN­Tech Bio­vac Pfizer Vac­cine SA

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