Pfizer and BioNTech are partnering with the Cape Town-based Biovac Institute to produce SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in South Africa, the Wall Street Journal.
According to the companies, they plan to incorporate Biovac's Cape Town facility into their vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021, and they expect the facility will produce more than 100 million vaccine doses a year once fully operational in 2022. These vaccine doses, the companies say, will be distributed to countries within the African Union. Currently, the Journal notes that only about 1.5 percent of the population in Africa is fully vaccinated.
"The only way to solve this is to allow Africa to produce," Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean businessman who is leading the African Union's vaccine procurement team, has said, according to the Journal. "It hasn't been allowed to produce."
CNN reports that this announcement has been well received. "It is great and welcome news that must be celebrated in the context of this pandemic as every action counts. I see this as a part of the collective action to address technology transfer and intellectual property," John Nkengasong, the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tells CNN.