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Moderna Plans to Build Vaccine Manufacturing Plant in Africa

Moderna plans to build a messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa to make up 500 million doses of mRNA vaccines each year.

This is the first announcement by a COVID-19 vaccine producer to fully manufacture mRNA vaccine substances in Africa, marking a victory for those pushing to increase local manufacturing of both COVID-19 vaccines and mRNA technologies more broadly on the continent. Only about 4% of Africa’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — a shortcoming that has largely been blamed on nations’ reliance on doses from overseas.

In a press release, Moderna said its new manufacturing plant would produce the vaccine substance itself. The company said it plans to invest $500 million in the facility.

“On behalf of our growing team, partners and shareholders, we are determined to extend Moderna’s societal impact through the investment in a state-of-the-art mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa. While we are still working to increase capacity in our current network to deliver vaccines for the ongoing pandemic in 2022, we believe it is important to invest in the future,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer at Moderna.

The company did not specify a date for when the facility might be operational, nor did it indicate how many of the 500 million doses would be COVID-19 vaccines. Moderna will “soon” start searching for a country and site to host the facility.