The United States government will pump $200m into the Aspen Pharmaceutical plant in Gqeberha to expand its Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine production for Africa, reports News24.
Acting US Consul-General Will Stevens announced the major investment in an email to the Eastern Cape government.
The Aspen Pharmacare facility is currently manufacturing 220 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for African countries. The number of doses would eventually be increased to 400 million, said President Cyril Ramaphosa in March. The South African government had placed an initial order of 30 million doses for the country.
The production of the vaccines at the plant formed part of the partnership between government and the private sector in the national vaccination programme. Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has confirmed the investment, thanking the US government for the investment into the plant. He said it was huge, and would help the province create more job opportunities for young people.
During Ramaphosa's visit to the plant in March, Aspen announced it had invested more than R3bn in the facility, which would provide further lifesaving medicines for the domestic and export markets.
The internationally-accredited facility, added News24, had the capacity to produce up to 300 million doses of the J&J vaccine per year.
The collaboration between Aspen Pharmacare and Johnson & Johnson to produce vaccines and drugs at the sterile manufacturing plant, which boasts high-technology equipment and systems, was sealed in November 2020.
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