Since the pandemic started, there have been efforts to bolster vaccine production in the continent. The African Union partnered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which runs WHO-backed vaccine program Covax, to build five research centers over the next 15 years that will manufacture vaccines locally. In addition, Rwandan president Paul Kagame is planning to establish the first manufacturing facility for messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, like those developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, on the continent.

Nkengasong acknowledged that the results of an IP waiver on Covid-19 vaccines would not happen “overnight,” and said Africa’s CDC is continuing to focus on getting more vaccines for the continent ASAP.  “What we need now, and urgently, is vaccines that we can put in the arms of people,” Nkengasong said, “while developing our own vaccine manufacturing capacity or capabilities.”

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