From 2022, Pfizer and BioNTech laboratories will complete the final step of their Covid-19 vaccine production in Cape Town, South Africa, to primarily supply the African continent, where a paucity of doses delays immunization campaigns.
According to a statement announcing the alliance’s first cooperation outside of Europe and North America, the US-German duo has collaborated with the Biovac Group with the goal of distributing up to 100 million doses per year “exclusively” to the 55 “African Union member countries.”
The serum will be sent from the European factories of the two laboratories, which will retain control over the most delicate and crucial step of the process: the synthesis of messenger RNA. In Cape Town, the bottling will take place. According to a press release, “immediately” will begin the transfer of technologies and the installation of the machines required to participate in the manufacturing process.
“This is a crucial step in strengthening sustainable access to vaccines,” said Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac, “and the collaboration will enable wider distribution of doses to people in hard-to-reach communities, especially on the African continent,”
According to the World Health Organization, only 2% of Africans, or 16 million individuals, are fully immunized. Another Covid-19 vaccine, Johnson & Johnson’s single dose Janssen,is currently being packaged in a South African factory.