Ksh327: Cost of Covid-19 Vaccine in Roll-Out Plan

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    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media outside Afya House in June 2020
  • Kenyans could pay as low as Ksh 327 or as high as Ksh 2,725 for a Covid-19 vaccine depending on the type that will be approved by the Ministry of Health. 

    The global roll-out of vaccines is in advanced stages and is now awaiting approvals from respective government authorities. 

    On Monday, November 23, Astra Zeneca, a UK-based firm stated that it would sell its vaccine to developing countries at $3 (Ksh 327).

    The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is already on trial in Kilifi County, spearheaded by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri). Reports say that its effectiveness stands at over 70% and no details have been availed on its cost structure. 

    40 frontline healthcare workers from Kilifi were injected with the vaccine with 360 adult volunteers being targetted for the second phase in Mombasa County. 

    The jab will, however, be allowed in the Kenyan market by regulators and the Ministry of Health. Health CS Mutahi Kagwe stated that he had not yet approved any vaccine adoption. 

    An image of a Covid-19 vaccine
    A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a "Vaccine Covid-19" sticker taken on April 10, 2020.

    "We could easily enter into a bilateral partnership with Astra Zeneca to get more doses as this vaccine was very promising because it shows protection against all age groups and could also stop transmission of the virus," Health Director-General Patrick Amoth stated, hinting at approving the Ksh 327 vaccine.

    Other vaccines in the market include one made by Pfizer which will cost nearly Ksh 2,000 ($20) a dose and Moderna’s which trades at between Ksh1,635 ($15) and Kh2,725 ($25). 

    Kagwe's remark on Pfizer's vaccine attracted backlash after claiming that he did not understand how the vaccine would protect a person from the virus.

    "I have many doubts about it because they were talking about a disease that stops people from getting the virus. Now, I would like to know how they knew in the first place that I was going to get the virus. 

    "For me, I have reservations about it," Kagwe stated on Wednesday, November 11, while addressing MPs in Parliament. 

    He, however, released a statement a few hours later and defended himself from the uproar. He said that his sentiments were taken out of context as he is actually pro-vaccination. 

    "For the avoidance of doubt, my ministry considers vaccination and or immunization to be our core part of efforts for preventing diseases for which vaccines are available," he clarified.

    He added that Kenya would not commit taxpayer's money to preorder vaccine candidates with little or no pre-reviewed evidence supporting their efficacy.

    A medicine vial labelled coronavirus vaccine.
    A medicine vial labelled coronavirus vaccine.