SOUTH AFRICA – Pfizer and Biovac have launched a freezer farm facility which will serve as an ultracold storage facility and add to the institute’s capacity for vaccine storage and supply.
The facility is a 1,100m2 two-storey building, which houses 135 ultra-low temperature freezers that allow for the storage of vaccine products up to minus 70 degrees Celsius, and notably, the storage of the locally manufactured Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
This is one of the largest paediatric vaccines included in South Africa’s Expanded Programme for Immunization (EPI) – the early childhood pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
Over 20 million doses of vaccines are delivered a year by Biovac, with a significant number of these locally manufactured.
Nick Lagunowich, global president of Pfizer emerging markets said the partnership between Biovac and Pfizer has enabled Pfizer to expand its capabilities to locally produce not only the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid 19 vaccine, but also the 13 valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine included in South Africa’s expanded programme for immunisation.
“The partnership between Biovac and Pfizer has enabled us to expand our capabilities to locally produce not only the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine, but also the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, one of the largest paediatric vaccines included in South Africa’s Expanded Programme for Immunisation – the early childhood pneumococcal conjugate vaccine,” said Biovac CEO Dr Morena Makhoana.
“These partnerships are the building blocks towards the ultimate vision of Biovac being an end-to-end manufacturer of vaccines.”
The partnership between Pfizer and Biovac goes back a long way, having been first established in 2015 to support the establishment of a sustainable supply of Pfizer’s pneumococcal vaccine.
More than 20 million doses of vaccines are delivered a year by Biovac, with a significant number of these locally manufactured.
This journey has witnessed the full technology transfer of the innovative 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
With the technology transfer completed in 2022, Biovac can locally manufacture and distribute over three million vaccine doses of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate to the National Department of Health annually which is to be used for the immunisation of babies in South Africa.
To date, Pfizer has invested more than R855 million (US$47.09m) in Biovac in the form of infrastructure and skills development with the economic benefit to the South African economy estimated to be over R500 million (US$27.54m) a year.
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