Kenya has secured Sh43 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines at Sh770 per dose.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said the country has raised Sh19.7 billion through Gavi-Covax, a global collaboration that aims at ensuring coronavirus vaccines reach those who need them most.
The remaining Sh23 billion will be sourced through a World Bank credit line and exchequer financing in an arrangement expected to cover 40 per cent of Kenya’s population.
“The payment will apply to whatever Covid-19 vaccine we get,” Dr Mwangangi said in Nairobi yesterday.
Gavi — formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation — will supply Covid-19 vaccines to 92 developing countries, including Kenya, through Covax.
Covax is an international programme comprising governments and manufacturers that aims at ensuring coronavirus vaccines reach those in greatest need.
Dr Mwangangi said the country would use at least two mechanisms to secure the vaccines.
These are the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) route and Covax, both seeking to help the continent access vaccines.
She added that the country has not begun giving shots to frontline workers “because the vaccines are unavailable and not because there are no resources”.
“If 40 per cent of Kenyans can get the vaccine, then we should be approaching the herd immunity,” she said.
Through an agreement with AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India — the contracted manufacturer — Gavi has secured “hundreds of millions of Covid-19 doses”.
The vaccination campaign, which begins early next month, will be in three phases.
The first, expected to take six months, will involve 1.2 million frontline staff, including health care workers, security officers and teachers.
“These people have a high probability of transmitting the virus since they interact with Kenyans daily,” she said.
The second phase will target 5.1 million people above 50 years old while the third will focus on 5.2 million with chronic illnesses.
“We are also looking at financing logistics and the implementation of the drive; how we’re going to move the drugs across the country and ensure any adverse effects are identified and dealt with,” Dr Mwangangi said.
Through the African Union (AU), countries will pay Sh300 to Sh1,000 a dose to access the already secured Sh270 million vaccines.
This was revealed in a plan prepared by the African Export-Import Bank.
AU chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week that member states could begin ordering vaccines through the bank and pay in instalments for five to seven years.
Countries are expected to deposit 15 per cent of the cost of any order to get the financing and then pay the balance on quarterly basis.
Of the Covid-19 vaccines, AstraZeneca is the most affordable and best suited for African health systems. It also works well with most African countries’ cold chain supply systems.
“The Oxford University-Astrazeneca candidate is ideal for Kenya because it fits in our cold chain supply system. We are testing it and already have the systems in place,” Health Director-General Patrick Amoth said.