On Friday, the head of WHO, the United Nations Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced that a project for the on-site production of mRNA vaccines will be launched in six countries on the African continent: Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal and Tunisia, with Kenya the only country in the east to benefit from this technology. The announcement was made during an EU-Africa summit in Brussels, attended by France, South Africa and the European Council. In addition, EU officials told newspapers on Wednesday that they are investing $45 million to boost vaccination on the old continent.
Some African countries continue to call for a temporary suspension of vaccine patents because, they argue, this would allow them to start mass production there. The question of suspending vaccines seems to be more complicated and has already been rejected several times by European and US authorities.
However, the country’s authorities have welcomed the news, admitting that the need to rely 70% on foreign imports for medicines and 100% on vaccines for Covid-19 has been the main cause of the country’s low vaccination rates. The Ministry of Health, Muthai Kagwe, said the heavy reliance on imports had created major logistical supply problems that had slowed down the vaccination campaign considerably.
Production of the Covid-19 vaccines will take place at the new facility, which has just changed its management entirely, Kenya Biovax Institute Limited, located in the capital Nairobi.