ETHIOPIA – The Africa Centers for Disease control (CDC) has recounted that the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) program launched in April this year has seen remarkable progress.

The partnership was launched by H.E Felix Tshisekedi, Chair of the African Union and President of the Democratic Republic of Congo to expand Africa’s vaccine manufacture for health security.

During the launch, strong political commitments were made to drive momentum for the African Union’s bold vision to manufacture about 60% of its vaccines on the continent by 2040, an initiative that will be led by Africa CDC.

Since commissioning, some countries have made impeccable progress in the mission. On the 10th of July 2021, Senegal, the European Union, the United States, several European governments, and partners, signed an accord to finance vaccine production at the Institut Pasteur of Dakar.

In the same spirit, on the 5th of July 2021, Morocco; under the chairmanship of H.M King Mohammed VI, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Swedish company Recipharm to establish and scale-up COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity in the country. Moroccan pharmaceutical producers also discussed different public-private partnerships and sub contraction opportunities for vaccine manufacturing.

South Africa has not been left behind either. On the 28th of June 2021, the country signed an agreement between Biovac, Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, a network of universities, WHO, COVAX, and Africa CDC established the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in Africa.

On the 29th of April 2021, Egypt; signed two agreements between Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) and Sinovac for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in the country.

Algeria also announced, on the 7th of April 2021, production of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with Russia, and part of the production is intended for African countries.

On Wednesday, a £2.7 million agreement between the Rwandan Development Board and the European Union opened the door to a vital boost in investment towards Rwanda’s vaccine production capabilities.

These engagements will definitely improve the positioning of the continent in pandemic management now and in the future. Africa has been highly disadvantaged in distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines.

Just over 1 percent of Africa’s roughly 1.3 billion people are fully inoculated, according to the WHO. And last month, amid a global supply crunch, shipments to the continent through the Covax initiative nearly ground to a halt.

More African countries are called upon to rapidly build capacity to adopt advanced technologies to enable manufacture of mRNA vaccines efficiently and speedily.