Kenya is set to start producing Covid-19 vaccines locally as from 2022, with an aim of navigating supply hitches that have slowed down the vaccination process.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that the country had commenced building a filling plant for Covid-19 vaccines.
The fill and finish facility will be used to put the vaccines originating from the main manufacturers into syringes or vials, sealing and packaging them before distribution.
“To improve our vaccine supply security, the government has embarked on the local manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines starting with the establishment of a fill-and finish facility through strategic partnerships and technological transfer,” Mr Kagwe said in the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan, 2021.
A number of manufacturers use third parties to fill and finish their vaccines. Rwanda, South Africa and Senegal have also started talks with investors to facilitate the production of Covid-19 vaccines in their countries.
“We aim to start local production during the first quarter of 2022 and have a fully-fledged human vaccine manufacturing capability by 2024.” Mr. Kagwe added.
According to the Health CS, local production will help the country achieve the numbers required for mass vaccination. To manufacture the vaccine, Kenya will be required ro partner with a vaccine patent-holder.
Kenya has in the last few months received several donations of assorted vaccines from a number of countries including the US, UK and Latvia.
The Ministry of Health is in an ambitious drive to vaccinate 10 million adult Kenyans by Christmas this year and 26 million by end of June next year.