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Pfizer to help produce vaccine in South Africa: What you need to know

Picture Courtesy: Reuters

Pfizer announced on Wednesday, that they have reached with a South African firm. Which will produce its coronavirus vaccine in South Africa. The Biovac Institute, which is based in Cape Town will work with Pfizer to produce the doses locally, which will help ramp up the vaccination drive in the African countries.

According to the agreement, Biovac will receive large batches of ingredients from Europe and they will blend and package them for distribution. Biovac chief executive Dr. Morena Makhoana said that this is “a critical step” in increasing vaccination access in Africa.

A representative from ‘Doctors with our borders’ said that this is not enough as Big Pharma companies need to enable small firms to independently produce vaccines. They criticized Pfizer-BioNTech for not sharing their technology with them.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is already being produced in South Africa by Aspen Pharmacare. They are producing the vaccine in collaboration with J&J where they just package the vaccine rather than developing it on their own.

Many countries in Africa and other poor nations are mainly dependent on the UN initiative of COVAX to receive coronavirus vaccines. So far, COVX has delivered more than 200 million doses of vaccines throughout the globe. Many doses which were initially promised are expected to be delivered next year.

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