While most developed nations have most of their populations fully vaccinated, only 11% of the African population are fully vaccinated. Vaccine disparity is a great concern to the World Health Organisation. The COVAX facility was an effort to narrow the vaccination chasm between rich and poor countries. Many wealthy countries committed to donating vaccines through the COVAX facility to less wealthy nations. However, there is still an unacceptable disparity in vaccination rates across the world, with the greatest disparity observed in Africa.
To minimise the disparity in vaccination between developed and developing nations, and to increase Africas’s capacity to acquire vaccines, the biotechnology company BioNTech intends to set up vaccine production centers in select African countries. The company intends to provide the containers, raw materials and know-how required to produce the vaccine at no cost. While host countries including Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Ghana would provide the land, electricity, water, and other necessities.
The vaccines are to be manufactured in special containers known as BioNTainers. Each vaccine-making container will produce up to 50 million vaccine doses annually.
BioNTainers could be used to produce other MRNA vaccines, including malaria – a disease that kills hundreds of thousands on the continent.