Local authorities in South Africa have welcomed Wednesday’s announcement on the signing of a letter of intent to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines by a Cape Town based pharmaceutical company for distribution within the African Union (AU).
The Biovac Institute, which has vaccine manufacturing infrastructure, quality control laboratories and warehouses with cold-storage capacity, will manufacture and distribute Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately to facilitate the process. Pfizer and BioNTech expect Biovac’s Cape Town facility will be incorporated into the vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021 while manufacturing of finished doses will commence in 2022 with drug substance from Europe. At full operational capacity, its annual production will exceed 100 million finished doses annually, all of which will exclusively be distributed within the AU member states.
The signing is a welcome boost of confidence to the economy in Cape Town and Western Cape Province that hosts the legislative capital, the government of Western Cape said in a statement. The province promised to continue working together with the private sector in terms of response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination rollout strategy. Western Cape, South Africa’s leading hub for health tech and innovation in the medical sector, has one of the highest concentrations of medical device and healthcare companies in the country.