The government has softened its stand on the possibility of deploying coronavirus vaccines it has not participated in developing. Health CS Mutahi Kagwe had declared that Kenya would not entertain vaccines from other countries but focus on locally produced jabs.
His decision was informed by the possibility of exposing Kenyans to harmful vaccines whose effectiveness and safety have not been established.
But yesterday, the government said it would consider vaccines from other manufacturers. Some of the vaccines Kenya may consider, according to Health CAS Rashid Aman, are those from Singapore, South Korea and China.
Dr Aman said the decision was informed by the National Emergency Response Committee (Nerc) meeting on Monday, which was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Covid 19 Time Series
Kenya is currently taking part in clinical trials for a vaccine by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford code named ChAdOx. Aman said the government was keen on getting vaccines from other countries as long as they are effective. “We need the vaccines for our health workers and the vulnerable population,” he said.
Aman said while ChAdOx was at phase one in Kenya, it had gone up to phase three in the UK, which is now seeking emergency authorisation to use it after a 70 per cent efficacy for a double dose was established.
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In Kenya, the trial recruited 40 people and the CAS said more would be added, noting the increasing significance of vaccine against Covid-19. “The meeting resolved that Kenya Medical Research Institute collaborates with researchers from other countries such as South Korea, India, Singapore and China.”
Kenya has appeared to shun Pfizer vaccine as well as the Moderna from the US. Data showed the efficacy of the two vaccines at over 90 per cent.
Health Director General Patrick Amoth said Kenya was among 192 countries taking part in the race, overseen by the World Health Organisation, to get a vaccine. He said Kenya had not closed the space for other vaccines. Dr Amoth said all the vaccines would be scrutinised before use. “All potential vaccines will be analysed for safety, immunogenicity and efficacy,” he said. “With Covid-19, everyone becomes a candidate.”