- Two of the largest vaccine companies have signed a deal with South African company Biovac to manufacture vaccines
- Biovac will now manufacture vaccines at the facility in Cape Town, a first for the African continent
- Biovac is expected to produce 100 million vaccines that will be distributed to 55 countries under the African Union
BioNTech and Pfizer, two of the world's largest vaccine companies, said on Wednesday that they had secured a South African partner to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine locally. This agreement makes it the first of its kind on the African continent.
Biovac Institute will manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine at their plant in Cape Town, according to Fin24.
Biovac previously collaborated with Pfizer on the Prevnar 13 vaccine and will manufacture and distribute vaccines to Pfizer and BioNTech's global supply chain.
Getting the project off the ground would take time with the first African manufactured vaccines not being expected until 2022, according to eNCA. Biovac is expected to produce more than 100 million doses per year once it is up and operating. The vaccines will be distributed to 55 countries under the African Union.
Biovac chief executive officer Morena Makhoana stated this move will enhance the long-term accessibility of vaccines on the continent.
"This is a critical step forward in strengthening sustainable access to a vaccine in the fight against this tragic, worldwide pandemic," said Makhoana.
Covid-19 has lowered South Africa's life expectancy, according to Stats SA
Briefly News recently reported that a Stats SA report has uncovered that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the life expectancy among South Africans to decline since the country recorded the first initial case of the virus in March 2020.
The report stated that fatalities during the first and second waves caused an increase in the Crude Death Rate (CDR) which indicates the number of deaths per 1 000 people in a year. The CDR rate rose from 8.8 per 1 000 people in 2020 to 11.6 per 1 000 people; signifying an increase of roughly 34%.
Stats SA stated that vaccination, following safety measures like social distancing and sanitising hands and surfaces, would likely push South Africa to its previous life expectancy levels. SowetanLIVE reported that the country has gone through two waves of infections and is currently fighting the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The report stated that although the life expectancy at birth indicator is a more 'important' indicator, the Covid-19 pandemic will not be brought forward as a projection of one person's lifespan but it should rather be used to bring to light the cumulative burden of the crisis compared to recent trends.
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