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Could Africa’s Vaccine Plant Become a White Elephant?

Africa’s top public health body has urged all those buying COVID-19 vaccines for the continent to place orders with South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare, saying the market was key to developing vaccine manufacturing on the continent. The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was doing everything it could behind the scenes to prevent a situation where Aspen closes its facility due to a lack of orders. Aspen has negotiated a licensing deal to package and sell Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and distribute it across Africa. This was hailed as a game-changing moment for an under-vaccinated continent frustrated by sluggish Western handouts, but Aspen’s COVID-19 vaccine plant now risks shutting down after receiving not a single order, a company executive said on Saturday.