NAIROBI, July 22 (Hfrance.fr) - Global pharmaceutical companies should allow production of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa rather than just making piecemeal contracts, said an African Union special envoy on Thursday.
AU envoy for coronavirus Strive Masiyiwa was speaking a day after Pfizer and BioNTech announced a "fill and finish" agreement with Biovac of South Africa. Institute under which it will perform the final stages of vaccine manufacturing where the product is processed and bottled. find out more
Pfizer and BioNTech will manage the production of drug substances at their facilities in Europe. Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called the agreement "restrictive" and said much more was needed to support vaccine independence in Africa.
" We want to make all suppliers understand ... if you want a long term future with us now you are producing in Africa, "said Masiyiwa.
Africa, battling a third wave of infections, administered only 60 million doses of vaccine to a population of 1.3 billion people due to restrictions on shipments from vaccine producing countries such as India.
Many African countries rely onon the global COVAX vaccine sharing program or on donations from countries like China and India.
"For regions left behind in the vaccine race to be self-sufficient, they must have access to all components of vaccine production, "said Lara Dovifat, head of MSF's access campaign, which seeks equitable access to vaccines.
Matshidiso Moeti, head of the World Health Organization in Africa, called for the local production of vaccines so that Africa can cope with the future epidemics.
"We are looking beyond t his crisis," she told a press conference.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) , whose vaccine is given as a single injection, also has a traitement "complete and finish " Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa (APNJ.J) .
J&J is on track to provide African Union members with 400 million vaccine doses by September next year, Masiyiwa said.
About 6 million doses will be delivered to 27 countries that have paid their share until the end of August, Masiyiwa said, with 18 other loans finalizing from the World Bank and other lenders before making the payment.
Shipments will average 10 million per month from September, rising to 20 million in January ry until the order is filled by September of next year.
Africa's balance of vaccine needs will come from donors, including COVAX, Masiyiwa said, adding that local production is the real answer.
"If you want land, we'll give you some. If you want to own it 100% , we don't mind, just produce on the African continent "he told the companies. Written by Duncan Miriri Editing by Giles Elgood
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