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Biovac’s Cape Town to pump out millions of Pfizer vaccines for Africa

Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine will soon be partly produced in Cape Town for African countries, reports TimesLIVE.

The US pharmaceutical giant and BioNTech have reached an agreement under which Biovac will handle the final stages of manufacturing, starting next year.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the first African production deal for the Pfizer vaccine could help to increase supplies to the continent, where only 1.5% of people are fully immunised. The vaccine will be shipped from Europe to Biovac's Cape Town plant, where vials will be filled and packaged, ready for distribution.

Health activists have called on vaccine manufacturers to transfer their technology to local producers in poorer parts of the world to ramp up production and alleviate shortages, the New York Times said. It quoted Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Global Health Policy and Politics Initiative at Georgetown University, as calling the Biovac deal “deeply disappointing”.

Kavanagh said: “What we have seen from all of these licensing agreements that only are fill-finish and keep the full production capacity to high-income-country producers is that they continue to just perpetuate the inequalities in distribution.”

Pfizer spokesperson Pamela Eisele said it was trying to ramp up vaccine production by “looking to external contract manufacturers to support the important fill-and-finish and distribution steps”.

She said efforts would begin immediately to transfer technology and install the necessary equipment at Biovac’s Cape Town facility, which would be able to supply more than 100 million doses each year at full capacity. These would be reserved for the 55 countries in the African Union.


Biovac plant in Cape Town to pump out millions of Pfizer vaccines for Africa (Open access)


New York times story – Pfizer will turn to a plant in Africa to help supply the continent with vaccines next year (Subscription)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Biovac to start local production of Sanofi and Pfizer vaccines


Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine technology transfer hub


Sanofi/GSK trials boosts vaccine hopes; turns to SA variant


GSK and Sanofi plan on joint COVID-19 vaccine ready for testing this year

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