Pfizer/BioNTech to produce COVID-19 vaccine in S Africa

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Kuwait

Pfizer/BioNTech to produce COVID-19 vaccine in S Africa

FRANKFURT: COVID-19 vaccine makers BioNTech and Pfizer on Wednesday said they had found a South African partner to produce their jab on the African continent for the first time. The move comes amid growing criticism of vaccine inequality that has seen poor countries fall behind richer ones in the race to protect people from the coronavirus. Under the agreement, Cape Town-based Biovac will complete the last step in the manufacturing process of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, known as "fill and finish", the companies said in a statement. The project will take time to get off the ground however, with the first African-finished Pfizer vaccines not expected before 2022. Once up and running, Biovac is set to churn out more than 100 million doses annually that will be distributed to the 55 countries in the African Union. "This is a critical step forward in strengthening sustainable access to a vaccine in the fight against this tragic, worldwide pandemic," said Biovac chief executive officer Morena Makhoana. The "technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately," the statement added. The coronavirus vaccine developed by Germany's BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer, based on experimental mRNA technology, was the first to be…