South Africa’s state-owned animal vaccine manufacturing company, Onderstepoort Biological Products SOC Ltd (OBP), has announced that six out seven vaccines currently unavailable in the country, will be back on shelves before the year ends.
Since the beginning of the year, livestock and animal breeders have had to deal with inconsistent supplies of critical animal vaccines. However, according to interim chief executive officer of OBP Luvuyo Mabombo, this will soon be a thing of the past.
“OBP confirms that it is aware of clients’ concerns about availability of the certain critical vaccine for the impending vaccination season,” Mabombo said in a media statement.
“With the assistance of the country’s weather authorities (SAWS) we are aware and have observed the weather events leading to persistent rains in certain parts of the country, likely to lead to disease outbreaks.”
These vaccines will be back soon
According to OBP, stock for the African horse sickness vaccine have already been manufactured and is currently undergoing standard quality control testing.
In November 2021 there was a nationwide outcry by horse owners and breeders over the sudden unavailability of the horse vaccine. Stock became available by December but only for brief period. “[The African horse sickness vaccine] will be available within days after QC test that take secen days,” Mabombo said.
Earlier this year OBP also confirmed it was running out of bluetongue vaccine and the lumpy skin disease vaccine. Bluetongue vaccines are expected to become available again before Tuesday, 20 December 2022. Meanwhile, lumpy skin disease vaccine is available in stock, OBP said.
African redwater, Asian redwater, tick-borne gall sickness and heartwater vaccines will be available on the week by Friday, 2 December 2022.
Rift valley fever vaccine (live) is available. The vaccine manufacturer said it is currently producing other batches which will only be available in January 2023.
‘Equipment maintenance underway’
According to OBP there were breakdowns in some of their equipment which resulted in an interruption in the production of certain products.
“As a business, we continue working on our equipment maintenance and repairs programme, whilst putting in place sustainable business continuity strategies.
“OBP’s facility and equipment strategy comprising of short, medium, and long-term repairs, replacements, and augmentations, are being implemented. This strategy was necessary to avert future production disruptions,” Mabombo explained.
OBP said it was proud that the availability of vaccines would assist in ensuring that outbreaks of diseases are prevented. The vaccine manufacturer encourages farmers to vaccinate immediately when the vaccines become available. Clients will be updated on vaccine availability.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.