Parliament, Saturday, 19 February 2022 – The Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Kenneth Jacobs, has welcomed the announcement by the World Health Organisation ((WHO) on the first technology recipients of mRNA vaccine hub.
The announcement on the first six countries that will receive the technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines on the African continent, was made recently by the WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The African countries are: Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
The global mRNA technology transfer hub was established in 2021 to support manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, ensuring that they have all the necessary operating procedures and know-how to manufacture mRNA vaccines at scale and according to international standards.
Primarily set up to address the Covid-19 emergency, the hub has the potential to expand manufacturing capacity for other products as well, putting countries in the driver’s seat when it comes to the kinds of vaccines and other products they need to address their health priorities.
Reacting to the announcement, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “The World Health Organization has listened to our collective call to establish Covid-19 manufacturing sites in low- and middle-income countries in the midst of vaccine inequality.”
Dr Jacobs said the hub provides an opportunity for African countries to produce their own vaccines and ensuring that the African continent is self-sufficient in the supply of vaccines.
The WHO mRNA technology transfer hub is part of a larger effort aimed at empowering low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, medicines and diagnostics to address health emergencies and reach universal health coverage.
The initial effort is centred on mRNA technologies and biologicals, which are important for vaccine manufacturing and can also be used for other products, such as insulin to treat diabetes, cancer medicines and, potentially, vaccines for other priority diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, DR KENNETH JACOBS.
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