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The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it is doing all it can to prevent Aspen having to close its Covid-19 vaccine plant due to a lack of orders. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it is doing all it can to prevent Aspen having to close its Covid-19 vaccine plant due to a lack of orders. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Africa’s top public health body urged all buyers of Covid-19 vaccines for the continent to place orders with Aspen Pharmacare, which faces having to close its facility due to a lack of demand.

Aspen negotiated a licensing deal in November to package and sell Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine under its own brand and distribute the shots across Africa.

But Aspen Holdings needs clear commitments within weeks from African governments for orders of its Covid-19 vaccine or it will recommit that production line to more in-demand anaesthetics, Bloomberg reported, citing Stavros Nicolaou, the company’s head of strategic trade.

The close of the plant would be a setback for Africa’s plans to catch up with more developed countries’ Covid-19 vaccination rates, and prepare for the possibility of future pandemics.

“We have said from the very beginning of the conversation on local production that market, market, market is the key to ensuring that we have a thriving local production, manufacturing enterprise,” said Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, deputy director of the Africa CDC.

“Our message is that we need to have all those who are purchasing vaccines at the global level for African countries, they need to purchase those from African producers first,” he said at a regular media briefing.

Reuters

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