The Biovac plant Institute in Cape Town. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
The Biovac plant Institute in Cape Town. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town vaccine manufacturer to make Covid-19 Pfizer jabs

By Nathan Adams Time of article published Jul 21, 2021

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Cape Town - The Biovac Institute is aiming to start production of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in the second half of next year, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday.

Morena Makhoana said the Cape Town-based firm would ramp up production of the COVID-19 vaccine before reaching output of 100 million doses a year around early 2023.

Biovac will become the first company in Africa to produce the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

In a joint statement the pharmaceutical groups said: “Biovac will perform manufacturing and distribution activities within Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s global Covid-19 vaccine supply chain and manufacturing network, which will now span three continents and include more than 20 manufacturing facilities. To facilitate Biovac’s involvement in the process, technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately.”

The statement also confirmed that “Pfizer and BioNTech expect that Biovac’s Cape Town facility will be incorporated into the vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021. Biovac will obtain drug substance from facilities in Europe, and manufacturing of finished doses will commence in 2022.

’’At full operational capacity, the annual 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.”

The latest statistics show that more than 5.5 million South Africans have been partially vaccinated against Covid-19 and as of Tuesday, nearly 2 million adults were fully vaccinated.

Chairman and chief executive of Pfizer Albert Bourla said: “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.” - additional reporting Reuters

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