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Namibia to establish vaccine factory

2023-11-21  Correspondent

Namibia to establish vaccine factory

Plans are underway to establish a vaccine factory for animal diseases in Namibia, and it may begin supplying vaccines to the agricultural sector as early as the end of 2024. 

The move to alleviate the pressing shortage of these veterinary products was recently announced at the annual congress of the Livestock Producers’ Organisation (LPO) in Windhoek.

Fritz Rexrodt, managing director of Swavet, said he is negotiating with private investors to set up the factory in Windhoek. He has already held discussions with the University of Namibia, the government, and experts, including veterinarians. 

Fritz’s’s father, Fritz Snr, founded Swavet, an animal health company also operating in South Africa, in the Namibian capital 50 years ago. 

South Africa and Namibia have significant shortages of vaccines to combat various important animal diseases, partly due to the inability of the state-controlled Onderstepoort Biological Products in South Africa to manufacture at the necessary pace. 

Private suppliers are under pressure to make vaccines available quickly, and Fritz said he is optimistic that his plans will materialise. 

Potential partners are enthusiastic about collaborating, he said, and they include not only major veterinary suppliers but also private individuals. 

He told the Congress that the response from people he had approached was overwhelming, but there are still many hurdles they must overcome before the ambitious plans can be implemented. The first vaccines could be available by the end of 2024. 

Twenty-two out of 27 essential vaccines are not available in Namibia, and he aims to reverse this undesirable situation. 

Thinus Pretorius, former chairperson of the LPO, said the picture on animal health is very bleak but he is optimistic, partly because everyone is talking and working towards a common goal.

“We have a unique situation where we are playing in a political arena but are still apolitical,” he said.

2023-11-21  Correspondent

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