BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,29TH JUNE,2021-President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that the country is marching towards realizing self-sufficiency in the domestic production of vaccines.
Delivering his 16th Presidential address on the covid-19 pandemic, the Head of State reiterated that Kenya aspires to end its dependence on foreign partners for the supply of human vaccines.
“Our long-term strategy is to set up a Human Vaccine Centre. I have directed a multi-agency Team to activate this plan and to focus not only on the COVID-19 Vaccine but on any other human vaccine needed in our region,’’ He told the nation
According to President Kenyatta, the national quest to produce human vaccines in Kenya will “elevate our nation as a producer for both human and veterinary vaccines that we currently supply to Eastern Africa, all the way to Morocco in North Africa.”
“It is now clear that we cannot exclusively depend on foreign partners and their systems to resolve our health crises. In that regard, we must substantially prepare ourselves before the next crisis knocks on our doors.” He said
The Head of State’s proclamation comes amid a biting global health crisis occasioned by the covid-19 pandemic. The outbreak has occasioned a huge demand for vaccines whose supply has been limited.
Kenya, just like the majority of the African countries, is dependent on vaccines supplied by the international community through the COVAX facility. Yet, in the last few months, the supply from the vaccine producers had come to a halt, leading to an uncertain future.
But President Kenyatta is exuding confidence that this will not last for long. He said his administration is approaching the matter through a mid-term and long-term strategy.
“In the mid-term, we will build in Kenya a ‘fill and finish’ plant. The plan being to import the COVID-19 vaccine unpackaged and finalize the logistics of filling and packaging it in Kenya. This will save us on time and will make us a supply hub for Eastern and Central Africa.” He announced
Already the establishment of the Human Vaccine Production facility in Kenya has kicked off with the development of an action plan and identification of physical facilities to host the plant taking place.