COVID-19 vaccine should be available to all, Kenya urges

Kenya has joined the rest of African nations in calling for fair and unhindered access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Director of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth made the call virtually during the ongoing 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA73).

His appeal on Tuesday comes in the wake of reports that most African nations are likely to wait until late next year to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been found to be effective in preventing Covid-19.

“As we move into 2021, Kenya joins the UN Secretary-General and other global health leaders in calling for fair and unhindered access to COVID-19 vaccines, as global public goods for health,” said Dr Amoth.

Results released on Monday show it is more than 90 per cent effective against coronavirus.

The developers – Pfizer and BioNTech – described it as a “great day for science and humanity”.

Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.

Though Covid-19 vaccine trial is going on Kenya and a few African states there is no primary vaccine development currently in Africa.

Kenya research institute KEMRI is evaluating the efficacy of a leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 with 40 frontline workers in Kilifi County having been vaccinated.

Hoarding

Researchers have been warning for months that production constraints and hoarding could limit Covid-19 vaccine supplies.

Several wealthy countries have allegedly negotiated bilateral deals with Covid-19 vaccine developers to secure vaccines for their citizens.

The manufacturer is among more than 25 drug makers who have expressed interest to supply developing countries with the vaccine under the Sh300-per-dose plan led by the World Health Organization.

However, the company must first fulfil pre-purchase orders signed with the United States, European Union and a few other rich countries running into millions of doses, to be supplied this year.

Pfizer has also signed an agreement to supply the EU with 200 million doses with an option for a further 100 million doses. Deliveries could start by next month.

Pfizer and BioNTech say they will have enough safety data by the third week of November to take their vaccine to regulators.

Until it has been approved it will not be possible for countries to begin their vaccination campaigns.

The two companies say they will be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of this year and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Each person needs two doses.

  

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