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Senegal to build COVID-19 vaccine plant

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Construction on new COVID-19 vaccine production in Senegal is set to begin later this year, with the facility scheduled to produce 25 million doses per month by the end of 2022, according to the project’s backers.

The facility will help Africa reduce its reliance on vaccine imports, which presently account for 99 percent of its needs, according to the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, and several European development partners.

During the epidemic, this reliance on outside manufacture became costly. Only about 1% of the continent’s population has been completely vaccinated, and many African countries are currently seeing new outbreaks.

During a ceremony in Dakar, European governments and institutions, including the European Commission, European Investment Bank, France, and Germany, pledged 6.75 million euros ($8.01 million) in grants to finance the plant’s construction.

In Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia, there are now less than ten African vaccine makers. Aspen Pharmacare (APNJ.J) in South Africa manufactures the COVID-19 vaccine for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N).

The Institut Pasteur in Senegal is now the only institution in Africa producing a pre-qualified vaccine – a yellow fever injection – by the World Health Organization, which requires manufacturers to meet stringent international requirements.

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