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Africa Gets Novel Vax Factory

FILE: A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. New data from Pfizer and BioNTech show their tot-sized COVID-19 vaccine was 73% effective in protecting children younger than 5. Taken June 21, 2022

Germany's BioNTech (22UAy.DE) says it has completed construction of its first vaccine factory made from shipping containers called 'BioNtrainer' being sent to Africa.

The COVID-19 vaccine maker said the BioNtrainer is expected to arrive in Kigali, Rwanda in the first quarter of 2023.

BioNtech said the facility at Kigali will house the first BioNtrainer, which is expected to become part of a wider supply network spanning several African nations that will have access to the mRNA-based vaccine.

In February, the company planned to develop a vaccine factory using shipping containers and send it to Africa as assembly kits to ease what the World Health Organization has described as huge disparities in global COVID-19 vaccine access.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, African nations were calling on drugmakers to allocate sufficient supplies and to locate manufacturing facilities on the continent.

Drugmaker Johnson and Johnson entered into an agreement with South Africa -based Aspen Pharmaceuticals to make its COVID vaccine, and struggled to get production going.