Biovac is preparing to roll out the 1.5 million vaccines heading to SA from India, but says they are also in discussions to start producing the vaccine on home soil.
South African pharmaceutical company Biovac is in talks with multinational drug companies, in a bid to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine on home soil.
This emerged as the company prepares itself for the mammoth task of handling the first arrival of vaccine doses produced in India.
South Africa is expecting the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines, which concerned parties say are already late. Though the infection rate has showed signs of slowing in South Africa this week, the vaccines will arrive to a population minus thousands who lost their lives to the deadly disease, including frontline healthcare workers, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions.
WATCH: Ramaphosa calls on ‘rich countries’ to stop hoarding Covid-19 vaccines
“We continue to be actively engaged in talks with government and global pharmaceutical companies regarding the local manufacture and production of Covid-19 vaccines. Progress is being made to ensure that a sustainable and equitable manufacturing arrangement is arrived upon,” said Biovac spokesperson Chelsey Wilkens.
“At this time, we are unable to disclose the nature of these discussions. In the meantime we are lending support to our governments’ efforts in importing the vaccines for which they are and will be procuring from licensed manufacturers.”
Biovac is confident it has the capacity to handle the arrival and distribution 1.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine Covishield. The company’s primary operations involve manufacturing and distributing children’s vaccines.
The company believes it is more than fit for the mammoth task ahead of it.
“Biovac currently has the capacity and capability to match the urgency of the support and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out alongside the requirements of government,” said Wilkens.
“ We can confirm that we have been appointed by the Department of Health to import, store, and distribute the 1.5-million doses of Covishield vaccine procured by the government from the Serum Institute of India.”
ALSO READ: Covid-19 vaccines: These are SA’s top candidates
Biovac has, for around 15 years, been a part of the Department of Health’s paediatric vaccine initiative.
The company believes the success of its role in the national immunisation programme speaks well for its positioning in what will be the largest global vaccination initiative.
“Biovac will keep you informed of any upcoming announcements with regards to the manufacture and distribution of potential Covid-19 vaccines as and when they happen,” said Wikens.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.