The Republic of Senegal has plans to construct a manufacturing plant to produce vaccines for Covid-19 and other endemic diseases to aid in meeting the African continent’s domestic needs.

The construction of the large-scale facility is expected to begin later this year, with support from Team Europe, which is offering major investment in the manufacturing of vaccines in the continent.

Grant agreements relating to the project were signed by the Senegal president, the European commissioner for the Internal Market, the European Investment Bank director and the US.

To be run by the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, the new plant could lower Africa’s reliance on vaccine imports by 99% and aid in bolstering pandemic resilience in the region in the future.

The facility will be equipped to produce 25 million vaccine doses monthly by next year-end, the European Commission noted.

Team Europe is offering a grant of €6.75m ($8.01m) to facilitate technical feasibility studies and project preparation for the new plant at the Institut Pasteur, Dakar.

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The grant includes €4.75m from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, along with €200,000 and €1.8m from Germany and France, respectively.

In addition, Belgium will provide support to Senegal on structuring initiatives to manufacture vaccines and pharmaceuticals.

The total investment expense and financial structures will be determined and decided with Senegalese and international partners.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “Africa currently imports 99% of its vaccines. But with today’s agreement, Team Europe is helping Senegal move one important step closer to producing its own vaccines and protecting Africans from Covid-19 and other diseases.

“This is just the first part of a much broader Team Europe initiative to support the production of medicines and vaccines across Africa.”

Earlier this month, Aspen Pharmacare announced that the company will receive a long-term funding package of nearly $713m (€600m) to boost the production of Coivd-19 vaccines for countries in the African continent.

Separately, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) safety committee (PRAC) has reported that rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis can happen on administering Covid-19 vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty and Moderna’s Spikevax.

The PRAC advised listing myocarditis and pericarditis as side effects in the product description for these vaccines and raising awareness among healthcare workers and individuals who take these vaccines.