Kenya eyes AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine instead of Pfizer or Moderna

Sodertalje, Sweden - April 13, 2020: Extrior view of the multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca production plant located at Snackviken. Roland Magnusson / Getty Creative

Kenya may opt for the Oxford-AstraZeneca Plc COVID-19 vaccine because it doesn’t require complex cold storage, unlike those of Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., according to Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary in the health department.

“Kenya is open to take on any vaccine that we are satisfied would be able to protect our people,” he said.  “But the AstraZeneca vaccine “seems to be more appropriate for our situation in Africa because it can be stored at temperatures” of other primary vaccines.”

Kenya wants to secure quick access to a vaccine as its health system is stretched by the virus, with doctors threatening to join other medical workers in a nationwide strike over working conditions.

Firm orders from the U.S. and EU for the latter two inoculations are in place until 2022, which could lead to delays.

Clinical testing of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is continuing, with participants from Kenya and South Africa taking part in the global trials.

Kenya has close to 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 1500 people in Kenya have died in the pandemic according to data from the Ministry of Health.


Story compiled with assistance from Bloomberg Africa