The agreement to produce the Pfizer-Biontech novel coronavirus vaccine at a facility in Cape Town, South Africa is a milestone in the global vaccination effort against the deadly virus.
But some health policy experts say such partnerships are not enough to get an international waiver of vaccine rights.
The Bio-Vac Institute in South Africa will help produce more than 100 million doses annually of Pfizer and Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine across African countries.
The agreement is part of a larger trend of major drug companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. that are cooperating to meet global demand for vaccines as infection rates rise.
However, policy watchers say the latest agreement will not come close to meeting the required vaccination numbers on a continent still grappling with the pandemic. They argue that giving up patents and other intellectual property rights related to COVID-19 vaccines will enable better production in countries in need as the spread of the mutated “delta” strain of the virus intensifies.