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Ramaphosa works with partners to shut down Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine factory – SABC News

Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccination plant was touted last year as a pioneer on a continent with a vaccine shortage thwarted by a lack of support from the West and is in danger of being shut down after not receiving a single order, a company executive said on Saturday.

South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare negotiated a licensing agreement for packaging and sale in November. Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine Distributed throughout Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the agreement a “transformative moment” in its push to address the stark inequality in access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the latest WHO figures at the end of March, only one-sixth of African adults were fully vaccinated. Aspen Brand COVID-19 Vaccine Aspenovax Across Africa It seemed like a sure bet.

South Africa, where 30% of the population has been vaccinated, is also likely to experience a fifth wave of infection.

However, Aspen’s senior director, Stavros Nicolaou, told Reuters by phone that “there were no orders for Aspenovax.”

He said of the COVID-19 vaccine plant in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape, “there will be little reason to keep the lines currently in production unless orders for the vaccine come in.” .

African countries are struggling with logistical problems, a shortage of skilled staff, cold chains and other issues related to vaccine distribution. Another problem is that the donors paid for it after it initially made Africa shiver, and now it’s well served on the African continent.

Nicolaou said the long-term goal is to shift to producing other vaccines, but the company has invested in these initial volumes to buy time to establish operations.

At a time when health authorities are trying to vaccinate three-quarters of the continent’s population, “We cannot sustain these doses on the continent without breaking this short-term gap with the mandate,” he said.

The African Union’s goal is to produce from 1% today to 60% of all vaccines administered locally in Africa by 2040, and several such plants are being built.

“If Aspen doesn’t get production, what are the opportunities for other initiatives?” said Nikolau.

Ramaphosa works with partners to shut down Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine factory – SABC News

Source link Ramaphosa works with partners to shut down Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine factory – SABC News

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