Senegal, the EU, the United States, several European governments and other partners on Friday signed an agreement in the capital Dakar to fund vaccine production in East West Africa.
The measure comes amid a shortage of punctures and a third wave of coronavirus infections ravaging Africa, which has highlighted the lack of vaccine production facilities on the continent.
Ninety-nine percent of vaccines used in Africa are imported, according to a joint statement by the Senegalese government and the European Union.
The new financing agreement is scheduled to begin vaccine production at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, the statement was explained, reducing dependence on imports.
Senegal’s Economy Minister Amadou Hott quoted in the statement that the new production center will lay the groundwork for “pharmaceutical and medical sovereignty”.
It will also “increase access to affordable vaccines in Africa and allow vaccine production to respond quickly to new pandemics,” he added.
Construction of the plant is expected to begin later this year, according to the statement, which adds that 25 million vaccine doses should be produced each month by the end of 2022.
The project will be funded by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, as well as the United States, France, Germany and Belgium, along with the Senegalese government and other donors.
Germany will contribute 20 million euros ($ 23.7 million) to the new plant.
It is not yet clear how much other donors will contribute. However, several donors had already contributed millions to a feasibility study.
At a press conference in Dakar on Friday, European Commissioner Thierry Breton said the project should cost about 200 million euros ($ 237 million) in total.
The plant will be located in the new city of Diamniadio, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Dakar, and will employ about 300 people, he added.
“This is a historic day,” Breton said, referring to the signing.
With some 5.8 million COVID-19 cases reported and around 149,000 deaths among its nearly 1.3 billion people, Africa is the least affected continent in the world after Oceania, according to an AFP account.
Currently, a third wave of virus infections is sweeping the continent and raising fears of the consequences of the lack of vaccines.
Vaccination rates remain slow, with only about two percent of the African population fully vaccinated.
Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization in Africa, warned on Thursday that cases are doubling every 18 days.
“Africa has just marked the continent’s most terrible pandemic week,” he said.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: Senegal, EU and US sign agreement for new vaccine production plant (2021, July 10) recovered on July 10, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-senegal -eu-vaccine-production.html
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