KENYA—The African Union, through the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), has pledged to address 60 per cent of the continent’s vaccine need by 2040.

This announcement was made on the margins of the 37th Ordinary Session of the African Union during a high-level breakfast meeting with the International Vaccine Institute and the Africa CDC, ‘Sustainable Vaccine Manufacturing through End-to-End Vaccine Research & Development Projects in Africa’.

Various heads of state, including President William Ruto (Kenya), President Mohamed al-Menfi (Libya), and Brahim Ghali (Sahrawi), attended a discussion on vaccine manufacturing in Africa with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Other guests included Tunisia’s Prime Minister Ahmed Hachani, IVI Director General Jerome Kim, Jean Kaseya, Director General of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC), Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumincha, and AU Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development H.E Amb Minata SAMATE of Ethiopia.

BioVax CEO Dr. Michae Lusiola and IVI Deputy Director General Dr. T. Anh Wartel hosted the session, relying on experiences in vaccine research and development, regulatory affairs, and manufacturing to establish the tone that centred on achieving end-to-end sustainable vaccination initiatives in Africa.

Speaking at the meeting, President William Ruto emphasized the importance of African countries producing vaccines to help stop various disease pandemics, noting that most African countries were severely impacted, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was witnessed globally and for which vaccines were in high demand.

 “The Covid-19 pandemic showed the poor status of the African pharmaceutical industry, particularly vaccine production. We were the last continent to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, and we suffered immensely from ‘vaccine nationalism,” he stated.

He went on to assert that Africa has the research capacity to develop vaccines, citing Kenya’s participation in the COVID-19 vaccine trials.

He also emphasized Kenya’s commitment to collaborating closely with respected institutions and partners such as the African Union, Africa, the African Medicines Agency (AMA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), and other international players.

CS Nakhumicha, for her part, stated that Kenya has made tremendous progress in establishing the BioVax Institute as a human vaccine manufacturing facility through a systematic whole-government strategy.

H.E. Amb Minata SAMATE, presented the African Union Health Strategy, emphasizing the critical need to improve and advance Africa’s vaccination agenda to ensure easy access to vaccines to reduce avoidable, preventable diseases.

This pledge builds on the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA), a financing mechanism established by the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) Board in December 2023 to boost Africa’s vaccine manufacturing sector in the long run.

The AVMA intends to develop a sustainable vaccine production business in Africa and will invest up to $1 billion.

The AVMA would accelerate the Africa CDC’s Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM), which were established by African Union Heads of State and Government in 2021 with the goal of manufacturing 60% of vaccines in Africa by 2040.

Furthermore, the Africa CDC will collaborate with all vaccine ecosystem partners and stakeholders to facilitate the full operationalization of AVMA and accelerate the accomplishment of Agenda 2063’s health security goals.

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