South Africa’s Big Step in Vaccine Equality

Epicentre News • 03 March 2022

South Africa has made a great leap in its vaccine manufacturing capabilities. A large warehouse in Cape Town is gearing up to make the first entirely African made COVID vaccine.

Why is This A Big Step?

This is so exciting because it will allow Africa as a continent to scale up our production and access to COVID vaccines. South Africa like many African states has faced vaccine inequality. Africa remains the world’s least COVID vaccinated continent in the world, with barely 10% of our 1.3 billion people fully vaccinated.

Who Owns This Company?

This facility is owned by NantSA, a company established last year by Patrick Soon-Shiong, a South African-American transplant surgeon, billionaire businessman, bioscientist, and media proprietor.

The United States-based doctor-turned-entrepreneur, has described the inequality in access to vaccines during the COVID pandemic as a “vaccine apartheid”. It is hoped that this factory will help to even the gap between Africa and the west by producing our own vaccines.

In addition, his family foundation will be investing R100 million in educating the next generation of African scientists.

How Does This Contribute To Vaccine Equality?

Soon-Shiong believes that he may be able to produce as many as a billion doses per year by 2025. This would be a massive win as currently Africa imports roughly 99% of the vaccines it uses each year, according to the World Health Organization. This makes our continent very vulnerable to global shortages.