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COVID-19 vaccines

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The first batch of COVID vaccines touched down in South Africa in February 2021. Health workers were the first to get a jab under the Sisonke study. But even before the country had bought any jabs, our reporters were writing about the logistics and the politics of the project. If you want to know how well the vaccines work, how the different jabs compare or what it takes to create a vaccine from research, to regulation, to rollout, you’re at the right place.

HomeSpecial ReportsCOVID-19 vaccinesTech talk: Unpacking and assembling the puzzle pieces of a COVID vaccine

Tech talk: Unpacking and assembling the puzzle pieces of a COVID vaccine

  • There’s a new vaccine plant in Cape Town, funded by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. By 2025, the facility plans to make a billion doses of COVID vaccine each year.
  • Soon-Shiong will donate R3-billion to South Africa to fund the ‘tech transfer’ that will be necessary to make new technology such as mRNA on local soil.
  • Think of technology transfer like you’re assembling furniture. It includes all the tools, pieces and instructions you’ll need to get the job done.

One of the scientific breakthroughs that came with the COVID-19 pandemic was the introduction of new vaccine technology, like those used in the Pfizer jabs. A new vaccine plant in Cape Town will now make similar vaccines on local soil, but making these specialised shots often require some hands-on help.
  • Read the full article here.
  • Read the full script here.

Dylan Bush was a health journalist at Bhekisisa from February 2016 to September 2023.

Adèle Sulcas writes about global health and food systems, and worked previously at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and the World Health Organization. She is former editor of the Global Fund Observer.

Linda Pretorius is Bhekisisa’s content editor. She has a PhD in biosystems from the University of Pretoria has been working as a science writer, editor and proofreader in the book industry and for academic journals over the past 15 years. At Bhekisisa she helps authors to shape and develop their stories to pack a punch.

Aisha Abdool Karim was a senior health reporter at Bhekisisa from 2020 to 2022.