Kenya among six in Africa to get Covid vaccines tech

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday announced six African countries to benefit from technology transfer for Covid-19 vaccines, boosting the continent’s ability to produce more doses locally.

Tedros Adhanom, the head of the WHO told a press conference in Brussels that Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal and Tunisia will receive mRNA technology as one way of boosting vaccine equity across the world.

The technology transfer project had been launched as part of efforts to help poor countries manufacture Covid-19 vaccines according to global standards of quality.

The technology is used to produce vaccines including Pfizer and Moderna.

“Today, I’m delighted to announce the first six African countries that will receive technology from the hub to produce their own mRNA vaccines: Egypt , Kenya , Nigeria , Senegal , South Africa and Tunisia,” Dr Tedros said at a joint virtual briefing with Presidents of France and South Africa, as well as the European Council.

The technology produces vaccines that boost immunity by ‘teaching’ body cells to produce proteins that can trigger immune responses against infections, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, the WHO established its global mRNA technology transfer hub to deal with hogging of supplies and to boost vaccination rates in poor countries.

The announcement was made at the ongoing EU-Africa Summit in Brussels even as African countries demanded a waiver on intellectual property rights under emergence exemptions to be allowed mass local production. This bid has been opposed in the past by big pharmaceutical companies.

On Wednesday, EU officials told journalists the bloc will be investing $45 million in Africa to boost local production.