Covid-19 Vaccines

Cyril a happy man as Biovac, Pfizer join forces

SA President welcomes Biovac/Pfizer collaboration which means African people will be protected against COVID-19.
Written by Nompilo Gwala

President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the news that South Africa’s Biovac Institute will collaborate with global pharmaceutical giants Pfizer in producing COVID-19 vaccinations on home soil. This exciting development will ensure African nations will be well-protected from the virus.

Speaking in his capacity as African Union Champion on COVID-19, Ramaphosa said that this agreement will contribute significantly to health security and sustainability on the continent.

“Today’s agreement will contribute significantly to health security and sustainability on our continent, which currently has the least access to vaccinations in the world,” Ramaphosa said.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be produced by the Biovac Institute in Cape Town. Biovac is a vaccine producer and public-private partnership between the South African government and the private pharmaceutical sector.

“The partnership between Biovac and Pfizer is a breakthrough in our effort to overcome global vaccine inequity. The protection of Africans is a necessary and critical contribution to the protection of humanity as a whole. This partnership demonstrates what we can achieve when the state and private sectors craft a shared vision and pool resources for the greater good of society,” added Ramaphosa.

Biovac will immediately embark on technological transfer activities that includes on-site development and equipment installation for the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines. The facility will be brought into the Pfizer-BioNtech supply chain by the end of 2021. Biovac will obtain the drug substances from BioNTech’s facilities in Germany.

Cyril recognises collaboration

At full operational capacity, the annual COVID-19 vaccine production will aim for 100 million finished doses annually, which some experts believe is little optimistic. All doses will exclusively be distributed within the 55 African Union member states. Biovac’s expansion in production and acquisition of specialised equipment related to mRNA technology entails an investment of R200-million in the coming six months.

“This collaboration recognises the talent and technology that exists on our continent that can be harnessed within our irreversible march of sustainable and inclusive development,” Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa wishes the partnership well and urges people throughout the continent to play their part by making themselves available to be vaccinated.

“The more we roll up our sleeves to receive our jabs, the safer we will be as individuals, families and communities. The safer we are, the more secure our future as a continent on the rise will be.”

Mr Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy on COVID-19 and member of the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, joined President Ramaphosa in welcoming the Biovac-Pfizer initiative.

Masiyiwa said: “The only way to guarantee Africa’s access to vaccines now and in the future is through this type of strategic manufacturing partnerships, which we welcome greatly.” – Health-e News

About the author

Nompilo Gwala