Aspen Pharmacare has detailed its plans to bolster South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout after batches of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were found to be contaminated and had to be destroyed.
In a shareholder statement on Monday afternoon (14 June), Aspen said that the destruction of the vaccines not only a setback for the teams who have worked to ensure the manufacture of these batches, but more importantly, has the potential to negatively impact the vaccine rollout across South Africa and Africa.
To mitigate the potential risk to vaccine access, and in substitution of the volumes lost, the group said that the following actions have been undertaken:
- Within days, Johnson & Johnson will provide 300,000 doses of the vaccine for South African teachers;
- Within a week, Aspen expects to release Johnson & Johnson vaccines manufactured from drug substance that has not been impacted by the emergent contamination;
- Over the next few weeks, Johnson & Johnson will be delivering substantial quantities of compliant finished vaccines to South Africa to replace the lost stock thereby ensuring the momentum in the South African vaccine initiative is maintained;
- Aspen has further doses of the vaccine in production that will become available in July;
- These Johnson & Johnson vaccines released by Aspen will support the vaccination programmes in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.
“We thank the Aspen teams for their exemplary response in managing this setback and our partner, Johnson & Johnson, who through their actions, have not only assisted in capacitating the African continent, but at this challenging time have stepped up again to ensure that we are able to maintain the momentum needed to give our continent access to lifesaving vaccines,” it said.