Ramaphosa urges vaccine purchases from S.African maker

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged donors and countries to buy Covid-19 vaccines from African manufacturers.

Ramaphosa made the remarks while addressing an international meeting on Covid-19 on Thursday.

Last week, South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare which won a deal to package and sell the Johnson & Johnson vaccine said the plant risked closing down after failing to get a single order.

The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was doing everything it could to prevent the facility from closing down.

The facility was hailed as a trailblazer for Africa, which remains the least vaccinated continent.

Johnson&Johnson vaccines also have a reputation problem. Last April, South Africa stopped administering the drug after it was blamed for causing blood clots in adults.

The African Union's goal is to produce 60% of all vaccines administered in Africa locally by 2040, up from the current 1%, and several such plants are being set up.

Vaccine plants will be set up in Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt and Senegal.

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