The World Bank, together with three government agencies, have announced that they will be funding the production of Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa.
The International Finance Corporation represents the World Bank while the United States is represented by the US International Development Finance Corporation, Germany by the DEG and France by Proparco SA.
With South Africa being far behind with its vaccination schedule and in desperate need of the vaccination itself, the efforts of the organisations involved are welcomed.
Bloomberg reports that the $712 million deal will support Aspen in producing 500 million doses of the shots through 2022. Of that amount, 30 million will be produced for use in South Africa in 2021, out of a total of 250 million due by the end of the year.
It has been announced that Johnson & Johnson will be providing the main ingredient for the vaccine, the drug substance. Local pharmaceutical company, Aspen, will be delegated with the last stage in the production process, namely the fill-finish.
In the short term, this could mean that South Africa will have direct access to Covid vaccines. The great news for the long-term is that South Africa, through Aspen, would be able to produce vaccines for the entire continent.
Image credit: The United Nations