Aspen confirms release of Covid-19 vaccines to Johnson & Johnson for supply to South Africa

Durban, South Africa – Aspen, a global multinational specialty pharmaceutical company, is pleased to confirm that the first supplies to South Africa of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, from the new API source located in Europe, will be released to Johnson & Johnson from its flagship Gqeberha-based manufacturing site later today. These vaccines will be further distributed throughout South Africa in line with the various distribution arrangements between Johnson & Johnson, the National Department of Health and other stakeholders. In addition, vaccines from these batches will be made available through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team/African Union platform.

This represents a significant landmark for South Africa and the African continent as these are the first COVID-19 vaccines to be produced on the African continent, by an African producer for South African and African patients. Supplies will also be made to the European Union and other offshore markets.

Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive said, “Aspen is proud of the role we are playing in producing vaccines for distribution in South Africa, across Africa and the world. Our ability to produce these vaccines on behalf of Johnson & Johnson builds on our strategic vision of delivering high quality, affordable medicines that improve health outcomes for patients in our own country, continent and around the world.  Supply for Africa and South Africa is particularly rewarding, given the current global inequality in accessing vaccines. This represents a big step forward in ensuring that Africa can address its healthcare priorities. The manufacture of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine builds on the global contributions we have already made in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with both our anaesthetics portfolio and dexamethasone supply.”


Aspen has invested in excess of R3.0 billion at this sterile manufacturing site, based in the Eastern Cape, the single largest investment in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa. The new sterile facility contains high-technology, state-of-the-art pharmaceutical equipment and systems that will be used to manufacture advanced sterile medicines, including vaccines. These investments at the Gqeberha manufacturing site, which has been a cornerstone of both local antiretroviral and multi drug-resistant TB manufacture, demonstrate Aspen’s ongoing and enduring commitment to South Africa and the continent. With roots firmly embedded in African soil, a continent which carries a disproportionately high disease burden, the investment in advanced pharmaceutical technology enables Aspen to continue to contribute to improved access to treatment, respond to public health emergencies and to create significant economic, export and job creation opportunities. This facility allows Aspen to manufacture multiple and complex sterile products, such as vaccines and Aspen’s global anaesthetics. It will also ensure quality and security of both domestic and international supply.


It is with much pride and gratitude that Aspen has collaborated with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceutica, NV, two of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, which have demonstrated their commitment to equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Aspen’s Gqeberha site is the only manufacturing site on the African continent and in the southern hemisphere selected by a global multinational pharmaceutical company of this magnitude to contract manufacture COVID-19 vaccines.










Closed Period

Aspen is in a closed period from 1 January until the publication of our interim results on the JSE SENS platform scheduled to be released on 1 March 2023.

The live presentation will take place in Cape Town at 08h30 on 2 March 2023.