With global COVID-19 vaccine inequalities on the mind, Moderna said it has plans to pump $500 million into building a new production site in Africa.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, said the company has not chosen an exact location for the African-based vaccine manufacturing site. And by the time it is built and validated — at least two to four years — it’ll be too late to make a major impact on the efforts to globally distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
But Bancel said that the new facility will help ensure that the kinds of uneven vaccination rates being seen around the world during COVID-19 do not “happen again.”
Once operational, Bancel said the plant will crank out up to 500 million doses of vaccines each year. Although the company’s only approved product is its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, it also has vaccines for the flu, Zika and other viruses in development.
Overseas expansion is currently a major goal for the Massachusetts-based company. Earlier this year, Moderna announced that it plans to construct a new plant in Canada. The company is also eyeing sites in Asia, Australia and Europe and all told, hopes to have five to 10 overseas production facilities.