Kenya plans to start local vaccine production by April 2022
The government of Kenya has announced that it will start manufacturing the COVID 19 vaccine locally. Kenya plans to start these operations in April 2022. The move is designed to address supply chain challenges that have made it difficult to access vaccines in the country.
The news was announced by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. It is expected to bring together the Ministry of Health and Kenya Biovax Limited, a local pharmaceutical company.
Kenya is following other African countries in the search for vaccine independence. Currently, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and other countries are already in talks with investors on building local capacity for vaccine production.
Adoption of the Covid vaccine in Kenya
Kenya has performed relatively well in vaccine intake compared to a host of other African nations. Despite vaccine shortages, at the time of writing, more than 4 million people in the country had received at least one vaccine.
The government says this success is largely due to free vaccinations and growing public awareness. But despite this, the numbers remain far behind compared to Western countries.
Kenya hopes that increasing the local supply of COVID vaccines will help accelerate adoption. According to the government, this will help allay concerns about the pandemic and reduce pressure on the local health system.
Effects of COVID 19 in Kenya
Although Kenya has managed to navigate the pandemic effects, the country was hit hard. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the economy has been going through a recession in recent months.
The tourism industry, which represents a significant part of the economy, has also been hit hard. The government has also reported lost revenue after raising taxes to protect citizens from the effects of COVID.
There is Conesus however that a widespread vaccination campaign could help reduce the economic risks associated with the pandemic. The government of Kenya is working hard to make this happen. Once local vaccine production begins, it will be easier and cheaper for the health ministry to immunize as many people as possible.
How feasible is a local vaccine?
There is no doubt that the Government of Kenya does not currently have the ability to produce COVID vaccine. But the plan is to take advantage of local demand for vaccines to invite foreign investors. Yes, the Kenyan government says it plans to work with a local company. But there will likely be some implication for foreign companies.
It is also clear that the government will need to build the necessary infrastructure to produce these vaccines on a large scale. After all, if indeed the state wishes to rapidly deploy a massive vaccination campaign, it will have to produce the product in large numbers.
All of these things will take time. The April deadline is certainly doable, but given the amount of work involved, it might just as well take longer. But it is clear that this is a good start. Kenya is also expected to partner with other East African countries in this endeavor.