Release of J&J jabs from SA plant hailed as major boost for Africa

Aspen Pharmacare said the first batch to be used in South Africa will be released from its Gqeberha production facility on Monday.

FILE: Nearly 1.2 million imported Johnson & Johnson shots have already been administered in the country. Picture: 123rf.co.

CAPE TOWN - The release of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines from a South African plant is being hailed as a major boost for the country and the African continent.

Aspen Pharmacare on Monday said the first batch to be used in South Africa would be released from its Gqeberha production facility on Monday.

Nearly 1.2 million imported Johnson & Johnson shots have already been administered in the country.

Aspen Pharmacare said for the first time, a batch of 1.45 million vaccine shots completed in South Africa would be distributed to the local market.

Group senior executive Dr Stavros Nicholau said they would be releasing these jabs to Johnson & Johnson on Monday, and the batch would be distributed later this week.

“It’s historic because it’s an African producer that has produced Africa’s first vaccine.”

However, it's not the first time the Gqeberha plant has dispatched J&J vaccine doses to the African Union.

“...Which are acquired to the African Acquisition Task Team and they are subject to a distribution arrangement between Johnson & Johnson and the African Union out of Africa.”

The plant can produce 20 to 25 million vaccines a month, depending on the availability of the active drug substance needed to complete the manufacturing process.

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