Accessibility links

Breaking News

Senegal Vax Plant Propelled by Euro Buy-In

FILE: Healthcare worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for injection, Dakar, Senegal, February 23, 2021

The European Investment Bank (EIB) committed 75 million euros ($80 million) on Thursday to finance construction of a new facility in Senegal that will produce COVID-19 and other vaccines for use across Africa.

The new vaccine plant, to be run by the Dakar-based Institut Pasteur, is intended to help Africa cut its dependence on imported vaccines, which presently account for 99% of the continent's needs.

Along with COVID vaccine, the facility will also produce doses for yellow fever and other endemic diseases.

"It is essential to create decentraliszd vaccine manufacturing capacity to address this imbalance and ultimately build a safer and healthier world," said Amadou Alpha Sall, Institut Pasteur's director in Senegal.

Institut Pasteur hopes the facility will begin producing vaccines before the end of the year. At full capacity, it should produce up to 300 million vaccine doses per year, the European Investment Bank [EIB] said in a statement announcing its 75 million Euro financing.

The institute in Senegal's capital, Dakar, is jointly run by the Senegalese government and the Paris-based Institut Pasteur.

"Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we have maintained that no one is safe until everyone is safe,” said Irene Mingasson, the head of the EU delegation to Senegal.

The EIB and the European Union had already donated 5 million euros in 2021 for feasibility studies and project preparation for the plant.

Africa's reliance on outside manufacturing delayed the rollout of COVID vaccines last year. Doses have since arrived in force, but inoculation rates remain low in many countries due to logistical challenges and vaccine hesitancy.

There have been several initiatives during the pandemic to boost vaccine manufacturing in Africa, but some have struggled.

South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare said last month it might slash its capacity to package and sell the COVID vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson after receiving no orders.