By David Himbara
South Africa’s production of Covid19 vaccines is a landmark for South Africa and the African continent. These are the first Covid-19 vaccines produced on the African continent, by an African producer, for South African and African populations. South Africa has stepped up not only to save South African lives but those of their sisters and brothers across the continent. This is great news for South Africa and Africa as a whole.
On Jul 26, 2021, South Africa’s Aspen pharmacare confirmed that the first supplies of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines produced in South Africa were released. These initially supplies were released from the company’s flagship Gqeberha-based manufacturing site in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. These vaccines are being distributed throughout South Africa in line with the National Department of Health and other stakeholders. Crucially, the rest of the African continent is not being left behind. In addition to supplying South Africa, vaccines from the already released batches will be made available to the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team of the African Union for distribution across the continent.
Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive stated:
“Aspen is proud of the role we are playing in producing vaccines for distribution in South Africa, across Africa and the world. Our ability to produce these vaccines on behalf of Johnson & Johnson builds on our strategic vision of delivering high quality, affordable medicines that improve health outcomes for patients in our own country, continent and around the world. Supply for Africa and South Africa is particularly rewarding, given the current global inequality in accessing vaccines. This represents a big step forward in ensuring that Africa can address its healthcare priorities.”
Aspen says it has invested heavily in its Eastern Cape manufacturing plant. The facility contains high-technology, state-of-the-art pharmaceutical equipment and systems that will be used to manufacture advanced medicines, including vaccines. This is great news for South Africa and Africa as a whole. Stay tuned.