Pfizer/BioNTech unveil plans to start COVID-19 vaccine production in South Africa

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By Henry Okonkwo

COVID-19 vaccine makers BioNTech and Pfizer have disclosed their plans to start production of their vaccine in South Africa from 2022.

They disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement, saying that the move was as a result of growing vaccine inequality that has seen poor countries fall behind richer ones in the race to protect people from Coronavirus.

Under the agreement, South African-based Biovac will complete the last step in the manufacturing process of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine known as ‘fill and finish’.

According to Biovac Chief Executive Officer, Morena Makhoana, once the project was up and running, Biovac would churn out more than 100 million doses annually that will be distributed to the 55 countries in the African Union.

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He said, “This is a critical step forward in strengthening sustainable access to a vaccine in the fight against this tragic, worldwide pandemic.

“Technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately.”

The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, called the partnership “a breakthrough for African nations”.

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