Deputy President visits Biovac Manufacturing Facility in Cape Town
Deputy President David Mabuza visited the Biovac manufacturing Facility in Pinelands in Cape Town on Thursday.
The visit follows a similar visit to the institute in Gauteng. Mabuza was accompanied by Higher Education and Science and Technology minister, Blade Nzimande, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, and CEO of BioVac, Dr. Morena Makhoana.
The purpose of the visit is to provide the Deputy President who is the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Covid-19 Vaccines, an opportunity to witness the country’s scientific capabilities, biotechnology infrastructure and the investments made to support vaccine manufacturing and development efforts.
BioVac performs product development, formulation and filling of vaccines, packaging, labelling as well as cold chain and distribution.
‘’This is the only facility of its kind in the African continent. It started in 2003, just with packaging, but it has been moved up the value chain 9filling and finishing). Plan is to move higher the value chain, to be able to produce invest, initially our own research, and manufacturing our own vaccine. Not just for COVID-19, but other diseases/illnesses as well.’’ Says Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande
Mabuza said that R10 billion has been dedicated to purchase Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. As for the AstraZeneca vaccine, the plan is to send it to other countries in Africa that is able to use it.
‘’We are purchasing from Johnson & Johnson, Phizer. Those are the two we entered an agreement with. The AstraZeneca vaccine, we are discussing with the African union (AU). Other African continents are using this vaccine, and soon South Africa will be one of those countries.’’
So far over 168,000 healthcare workers have been inoculated so far, as of 17 March 2021. The aim is to have 1 million healthcare workers vaccinated by the end of March. However, Mabuza admits that they will not meet the deadline.
‘’Innoculation is continuing, though not at a very good space. In the next few weeks, we are expecting more vaccines – by the end of March. We would’ve reached the 1 million mark of inoculation, but it doesn’t look like it. We predict the million mark will be reached by the first or second week of April.’’ Says Deputy President David Mabuza.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor says she is thrilled that their plans with BioVac is finally coming in to play and that they’re working with an international partner.
Done By: Mitchum George & Danielle Mentoor