Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to be manufactured in South Africa from 2022

Pfizer and BioNTech have signed a letter of intent with Biovac, a Cape Town-based biopharmaceutical company, to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for distribution within the African Union.

To facilitate Biovac’s involvement in the process, technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately, Pfizer said in a press statement on Wednesday (21 July).

Pfizer and BioNTech said they expect that Biovac’s Cape Town facility will be incorporated into the vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021.

Biovac will obtain drug substances 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 and all doses will exclusively be distributed within the 55 member states that make up the African Union.

“From day one, our goal has been to provide fair and equitable access of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine to everyone, everywhere,” said Albert Bourla, chief executive of Pfizer.

“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.”

Biovac is aiming to start production of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in the second half of next year, its chief executive officer Morena Makhoana told Reuters.

Makhoana said that the firm would ramp up production of the Covid-19 vaccine before reaching output of 100 million doses a year around early 2023.

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Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to be manufactured in South Africa from 2022