Kenya is among four African countries that will participate in Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials, African special envoys on Covid-19 and the Director of Africa CDC Dr. John Nkengasong announced on Thursday, August 20.
Speaking during a virtual meeting of the African Union Bureau convened to discuss the continental response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Nkengasong stated that seven trials were nearing World Health Organization (WHO) approval.
He added that the continent targetted to vaccinate 60 percent of her population at an estimated cost of $10 to $15 billion (Ksh1 Trillion to Ksh1.5 Trillion) once the Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.
In his report, Dr. Nkengasong informed the leaders that despite crossing the 1 million mark of Covid-19 infections, Africa had in the last two weeks witnessed a 37 percent reduction in reported daily infections.
On his part, President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that Africa needed to elevate its global partnerships in the search for a Covid-19 vaccine.
"We need to ensure that African countries are not further marginalised but are positioned to be among the first line of beneficiaries, once a breakthrough is made," he advised.
Echoing his sentiments, President Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and President Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique) speaking on behalf of the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) emphasized the need to ensure that Africa is not left behind in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine when ready.
Uhuru further commended the special envoys for their efforts in helping the continent deal with the health and socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19.
"The economic challenges we face require concerted multilateral effort, such as prioritising debt cancellation and Bretton Woods led relief package, that does not exacerbate emerging local challenges," he added.
In July, Russian Scientists at Sechenov University clinical research centre made headway in developing a vaccine as they successfully crossed phase 1 of the human trials.
In the same month, Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation assured that her organisation would ensure frontline health workers all over the world including Kenya would be among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Locally, Kisii University on Monday, August 17, joined the race to discover a Covid-19 cure after partnering with herbalists from the region.