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Mobile Vaccine Factories to Increase Capacity in Africa

German vaccine manufacturer BioNTech has a plan to roll out mobile factories, housed in shipping containers, which will produce 50 million doses of mRNA vaccine in Africa.

Each factory has two separate modules called BioNTainers that are transportable by road, rail, air, or sea.  The modular design offers scalable production of shots for COVID-19, malaria, tuberculosis, and cancer treatment.

The mobile factory is a step towards sustainable vaccine production and access for communities in developing countries.


Video Spotlight:  


This post is based on the Industry Europe article, BioNTech has created a mobile vaccine factory for rollout in Africa, by Steven Gislam, February 17, 2022; the Fierce Pharma article, BioNTech, CureVac part of $3.14B deal to bolster German vaccine capacity through 2029: report, by Fraiser Kansteiner, March 17, 2022; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Avatar_023/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1.  How does BioNTech’s mobile vaccine factory achieve sustainable production?

Guidance: BioNTech’s mobile vaccine factory consists of two separate modules housed in shipping containers that allow scalable production of various vaccines at various locations to meet local health needs.  The factory manufactures the much-needed vaccines alongside local labs to ensure the composition, strength, and purity of the vaccines are up to standard.  The factory is a step towards sustainable production of vaccines that conserve resources, improve economic efficiency, and promote social well-being.

2. In what ways does BioNTech’s mobile vaccine factory exemplify a lean process design?

Guidance: BioNTech’s mobile vaccine factory exemplifies a lean process design in many ways.  It brings vaccine production to local communities in developing countries to achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliance.  The factory is housed inside shipping containers to enable vaccine transport and access to remote or underdeveloped regions. Its modular design allows production flexibility of the kind of vaccines to meet local needs.

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