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ONE reacts to BioNTech plans to increase mRNA vaccine production in Africa

Marburg – BioNTech announced the construction of manufacturing sites for mRNA-based vaccines called “BioNTainer” in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana and Rwanda. Macky Sall, Paul Kagame and Nana Akufo-Addo met with Development Minister Schulze, EU Commission Commissioner Hahn and the CEOs of BioNTech in Marburg to consolidate the announcement made by BioNTech last October.

Edwin Ikhuoria, ONE’s Africa Executive Director, said: 

“If we want to move on from this pandemic, we need more vaccination in Africa – and we need it now. So far, only 12 percent of the people there are fully vaccinated. The African Union has set the goal of being able to produce 60 percent of all the vaccines it needs itself. 

Politicians and pharmaceutical companies must be measured against what they are able to contribute to this goal. 

BioNTech’s presentation of the “BioNTainer” might look like a good first step to ensure availability of mRNA vaccines in Africa, but the success of these efforts hinge entirely on how they’re implemented. It is crucial that a transfer of technology and know-how to manufacturers in Africa actually takes place. We do not accept the argument that mRNA vaccine production is too complicated for African countries, because it has been proven to be wrong. South Africa is currently demonstrating this impressively. 

We can only do this together. We need companies, governments and multilateral organizations to work alongside each other, not against each other, to ensure Africa and the world has access to the knowledge and technology needed to vaccinate the world and prepare against future public health emergencies.”