Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have revealed plans to build manufacturing plants in Africa in the face of mounting concern about the global Covid vaccine rollout.
The announcement came amid criticism they had not done enough to immunise the developing world. Several African countries have vaccinated less than 1% of their populations.
Both Pfizer and Moderna recently increased the cost of their Covid vaccines, while Astra Zeneca has agreed to keep their price at cost for the duration of the pandemic.
However, Moderna said it would spend up to half a million dollars on a facility in Africa.
It will be completed in the next two to four years and eventually produce 500 million doses of vaccine a year but the location has yet to be announced.
As well as Covid vaccines, it will produce other experimental jabs in its portfolio that have not yet been tested in late-stage clinical trials.
BioNTech, co-developer of a Covid-19 vaccine with Pfizer, has also said it would establish a vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa.
Political leaders of Senegal and Rwanda held talks with the German-based vaccine developer in August. It is hoped the new facility could be up and running next year.
Klaus Meyer, of Canada’s Western University, said: “This is unlikely to be a quick fix for this pandemic.”
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