It is critical that Africa produces its own vaccines - Aspen's Nicolaou

'The landmark now is that we have the first Africa-produced Johnson & Johnson COVID that will find its way to South African and African arms,' Aspen Pharmacare's Stavros Nicolaou said.

FILE: In this file photo taken on 5 March 2021 registered nurse Florisa N. Lingad holds a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center established at the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Of the nearly four billion COVID-19 vaccine doses produced and distributed worldwide, Africa's received less than 1%.

This is according to Aspen Pharmacare's Stavros Nicolaou, who said that it was critical that African countries produced their own vaccines.

“There’s been significant inequality in the distribution of vaccines last year. Well over 3.8 billion vaccines have been administered last year and Africa has been a recipient of 1% or less.”

Nicolaou added that it was a historic milestone: “The landmark now is that we have the first Africa-produced Johnson & Johnson COVID that will find its way to South African and African arms.”

The first batch of more than 1 million Johnson & Johnson doses will be distributed from the pharmaceutical company's Gqberha plant this week.

Richer countries have long been accused of hoarding their vaccine stocks.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.