Senegal building plant to produce coronavirus vaccine, expanding African access
The construction of a plant to produce COVID-19 vaccines is expected to begin later this year in Senegal, and the facility should produce 25 million doses per month by the end of 2022, expanding vaccine access in West Africa.
The Institut Pasteur in Senegal's capital Dakar, which will run the plant, and various partners said the facility would help Africa reduce its dependence on vaccine imports, which currently account for 99% of its needs.
That reliance on outside manufacturing has proved costly during the pandemic. Only a little more than 1% of the continent's population has been fully vaccinated, and many African countries are now seeing fresh spikes in cases.
There are currently fewer than 10 African manufacturers that produce vaccines in Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare produces the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Senegal's Institut Pasteur is the only facility in Africa currently producing a vaccine - a yellow fever shot - that is pre-qualified by the World Health Organization, which requires manufacturers to meet strict international standards.