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In 2022, BioNTech laid out a plan to enable African countries to produce its Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine under the company’s supervision. The goal is to promote vaccine equity and self-reliance for the region. Currently, Africa relies on imports for 99% of its vaccine needs according to the World Health Organization.

The Kigali facility will have an initial capacity to produce 50 million doses of the mRNA vaccine per year. However, it can be scaled up over time to produce several hundred million doses as needed. The modular design allows capacity to be expanded. Local staff will be trained to operate the facility to ensure knowledge transfer. The goal is for the Kigali site to eventually manufacture a portfolio of mRNA-based vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases relevant to the region.

Rwanda was chosen as the location thanks to its relative political stability and support from government leadership. BioNTech’s goal is to spread manufacturing capacity worldwide to improve global access to vaccines when future pandemics arise.

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