COVID-19 vaccine makers BioNTech and Pfizer on Wednesday said they will be producing their jab in South Africa, the first such deal on the African continent.
BioNTech and Pfizer said they had found a South African partner to produce the jab locally.
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. In a statement, the company said it will complete the last step in the manufacturing process of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, known as “fill and finish.” Pindula News presents the statement below.
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BIOVAC TO MANUFACTURE AND DISTRIBUTE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES WITHIN AFRICA
21 July 2021 – Cape Town-based, specialist biotech company, Biovac, has been appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for distribution within the African Union. making it the first company in Africa to produce an mRNA-based vaccine.
Biovac is set to immediately commence technical transfer activities, which includes on-site development and equipment installation activities. Biovac will obtain drug substance from facilities in Europe, and manufacturing of finished doses will commence in 2022. At full operational capacity, the annual COVID-19 vaccine production will exceed 100 million finished doses annually All doses will exclusively be distributed within the 55 member states that make up the African Union. Biovac expects the facility will be brought into the Pfizer-BioNTech supply chain by the end of 2021. Said Dr Morena Makhoana. CEO of Biovac:
We are thrilled to collaborate with Pfizer and BioNTech to produce and distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine within Africa. This is testament of the long-standing relationship we have had with Pfizer through the Pneumo-conjugate vaccine. This is a critical step forward in strengthening sustainable access to a vaccine in the fight against this tragic, worldwide pandemic. We believe this collaboration will create opportunity to more broadly distribute vaccine doses to people in harder-to-reach communities, especially those on the African continent.
Said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer:
From day one, our goal has been to provide fair and equitable access of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to everyone. everywhere. Our latest collaboration with Biovac is a shining example of the tireless work being done, in this instance to benefit Africa We will continue to explore and pursue opportunities to bring new partners into our supply chain network including in Latin America, to further accelerate access of COVID-19 vaccines.
Said Ugur Sahin, M D CEO and Co-founder of BioNTec:
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. We believe that our mRNA technology can be used to develop vaccine candidates addressing other diseases as well This is why we will continue to evaluate sustainable approaches that will support the development and production of mRNA vaccines on the African continent.
Biovac has a long-standing relationship with Pfizer that commenced with local distribution activities in 2008 of their Pneumo-conjugate vaccine to the Department of Health This evolved to a technology transfer agreement of this vaccine, which has been successfully concluded. This latest technology transfer agreement strengthens the already existing relationship and enables Biovac to widen its existing footprint in Africa. which aligns with our long-standing vision of being a local manufacturer with regional presence and relevance.
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