KENYA – Kenya will soon begin producing its own human vaccines, thanks to the government’s Sh2.5 billion (US$220 million) investment in a vaccine manufacturing plant in Nairobi.

According to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, the plant will be installed at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority headquarters in Embakasi and managed by the government-backed Kenya Biovax Institute Limited.

He also stated that other vaccines that can be produced in the country will be included in the manufacturing process.

We are not just talking about Covid-19 vaccines, we are talking about other vaccines such as those for polio, malaria that we can make in the country,” he said.

The CS went on to say that while vaccine manufacturing is not a money-spinner in and of itself, it is necessary for the government to do so, as South Africa and India have done with their government-backed serum institutes.

Speaking during the Editors’ retreat in Malindi, the CS said the equipment will be set up at the current KeMSA grounds, in Embakasi.

“We have three go downs at the KeMSA premises in Embakasi which we are going to renovate and funds will be spent on installation of the machine and not construction of new buildings,” said Kagwe.

We do not want any compromises. We do not want people making calls to see whether they can participate. Unless you have been in that business; unless you are the serum institute, don’t bother. We are going to work with the best minds across the globe to ensure that Kenyans get value for their money,” he said.

The CS stated that everything will be done transparently and that whoever the government works with must be of global standing.

He claims that whatever the government decides to use will be superior to what has previously been done in terms of vaccine manufacturing.

The important thing is that is a big step for Kenya. This is the first time since independence that we are actually going to vaccine manufacturing and it is going to see reduction in the costs of vaccines and also ensure seamless availability of vaccines because it is possible to for us to have money and not access them.”

In December of last year, the CS announced that Kenya would begin producing Covid-19 vaccines locally by April in order to protect its citizens from future supply disruptions.

Supply issues had impeded efforts to vaccinate the country’s adult population.

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