Covid-19: Heightened optimism as AstraZeneca vaccine trial enters critical stage

The government has established a Covid-19 vaccine taskforce that will help develop guidelines on the country’s vaccines distribution plan once they are made available.

Speaking during the daily Covid-19 brief, Health chief administration secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said the taskforce is tasked with ensuring that such a vaccine is safe for use, it does what it should do and to ensure it is actually efficacious.

“What we are doing currently as a ministry through the National emergency response committee, we have formed what is known as Covid-19 vaccine taskforce which will go ahead and develop a policy, guidelines and plans of how these vaccines will be rolled out when available.” Said Mwangangi.

Mwangangi says Kenya remains optimistic of positive results in the ongoing AstraZeneca vaccine trials with the Kilifi Welcome Trust, which is spearheading the initiative in Kenya, said to have given a good update during a debriefing meeting held on Tuesday.

“We are quite excited. We will be having discussions with AstraZeneca to see how Kenya will be first in line because only about 8 countries are participating in the trials. Kenya is second in Africa after south Africa. Discussions are underway to see how Kenya will benefit from participating in such a trial.” Assured Mwangangi.

According to Mwangangi, the results announced recently by AstraZeneca that provided Interim data suggesting 70% protection were for data collected in Brazil which could vary from those conducted elsewhere.

“400 Kenyans have been registered in the ongoing trials. The results just announced were from Brazil and are part of the ongoing global trial. Kenya is at the process of data collection. Sometimes we can have differences in terms of geographies when you are testing a vaccine.” Observed the health CAS.

On Monday, AstraZeneca announced that its coronavirus vaccine reduced the risk of symptomatic Covid-19 patients by 70 percent based on analysis of data collected in phase three trials in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

With two other vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer returning encouraging immunity results of above 90 percent, variations in temperature and storage requirements will require countries to make decisions about which vaccine is feasible to roll out in their respective environments.



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