According to members of the national Covid-19 vaccines Taskforce, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine may be ready for distribution in Kenya by January or February 2021.
“If all things go as planned, it may be ready for distribution in Kenya by January or February next year. We will give frontline workers, old people, and those with comorbidities priority,” the official said
British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford say their jointly-developed vaccine against COVID-19 has shown “an average efficacy of 70 percent” in trials.
“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement on Monday.
The official said that would immediately grant the emergency use authorization of the vaccine if AstraZeneca gets such approval from US or UK governments. This will allow shots to be given to certain people while studies of safety and effectiveness are ongoing.
They said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, so it can make the shot available in low-income countries.
AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at less than 300 shillings per dose.
British and EU regulators have been conducting rolling reviews of the vaccine, which could fast-track the process.
According to AstraZeneca, it will share its trial data with the US Food and Drug Administration but did not say when it would apply for authorization for emergency use there.
Kenya is relying on a supply network called Covax facility, organized by Gavi, the World Health Organisation, and Unicef and supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among other institutions.
The facility says it has already secured millions of ready-made doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate, ready for distribution to 92 developing countries. It will buy vaccines, discount the price and sell to Kenya at about Sh300 per dose.
The good thing about the Oxford vaccine, it is cheap and it can be stored, transported, and handled “at normal refrigerated conditions” of between two and eight degrees Celsius for at least six months.
AstraZeneca said it would immediately prepare the regulatory submission of the data to authorities around the world that have a framework in place for conditional or early approval.