According to the head of the company’s South African manufacturing partner, plans to produce a vaccine against Covid-19 company Pfizer Inc. in Cape Town may be cut due to declining demand for injections.
About 100 million doses a year are planned to be packaged and filled at a plant controlled by the BioVac Institute, partly owned by the South African government, which will be the first facility in the Southern Hemisphere to use the underlying RNA technology underlying Pfizer. -BioNTech. .
However, demand for Covid-19 vaccines has fallen worldwide as countries begin to adapt to the pandemic – even in Africa, where vaccination rates are lowest. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., the continent’s largest drugmaker, said this month it could close its Johnson & Johnson dose line in South Africa due to a lack of orders.
“As a manufacturer, we are concerned about the picture that is,” Biovac CEO Marena Mahoana said in an interview. “If things go, there will probably be less” than 100 million doses a year.
Biovac spent about 300 million rupees ($ 19 million) to prepare for the production of mRNA vaccines and to install equipment to maintain doses at ultra-cold temperatures. These updates can still be adapted for other shots.
“It’s definitely a big project for Biovac,” Mahoana said. “In terms of volume, it’s a step change.”
Biovac currently handles about 4 million doses of the baby vaccine in South Africa for Sanofi Pasteur and 3 million doses of the Pfizer Prevnar 13 vaccine, a vaccine designed to protect children against types of pneumococcal bacteria that can cause serious infections.
“It is increasingly recognized that the supply of vaccines is no longer a major problem affecting the vaccination of low- and middle-income countries,” Pfizer said in response to questions. “The country’s readiness is crucial for the nation to be able to effectively receive, transport and administer vaccine doses as they arrive.”
Mahoana hopes that in Africa there will be more demand for the Pfizer vaccine from Covid-19 than for competitors such as the J&J vaccine, especially since Pfizer is seeking a dose allowed for children as young as five.
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