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Biovac has capacity to produce 20mln COVID vaccines per year, says CEO

For South Africa to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine here on home soil, it would need to be processed on a much larger scale and Biovac said it was not able to meet such demand.

Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Biovac CEO Morena Makhoana on Wednesday said the institute had the capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines but it was limited to around 20 million per year.

For South Africa to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine here on home soil, it would need to be processed on a much larger scale and Biovac said it was not able to meet such demand.

However, Makhoana said they were not going to sit back and ignore this opportunity.

“We don’t build facilities during a pandemic, we build facilities between a pandemic, sort of the preparations that they are doing but that will take a few years. That is how we will be able to prepare for the next pandemic and not rely on external companies for vaccines.”

READ: Mabuza stresses govt’s commitment to improve vaccine manufacturing capability

At the moment, the 1 million AstraZeneca vials, which will not be used in South Africa, are still in storage ahead of being shipped to other countries.

The vaccine has been offered to the African Union after a small study found the jab failed to prevent mild and moderate illness caused by the second COVID-19 variant.

LISTEN: Biovac Institute’s capability for home-grown COVID-19 vaccines

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