The Health Ministry is working with the private sector to formulate a plan allowing some private pharmaceutical companies to import coronavirus vaccines to boost government efforts.
The Ministry says discussions are ongoing with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) to issue the companies a conditional market authorisation in a bid to bridge the access gap and increase the number of doses in Kenya.
Covid-19 vaccine advisory taskforce Chairman Willis Akhwale said the government will monitor the prices and regulate the entire process.
“For the public, it will be free. We are working with the private sector to standardise the cost. Say, they only charge Sh200 to administer the vaccine,” Dr Akhwale said during a virtual meeting hosted by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA).
However, Dr Simon Kigondu, secretary-general of the Kenya Medical Association, noted that price control is not an issue because Covid-19 vaccines have not been ‘commercialised’ like other vaccines.
“What is important is the ability of the government to make it available to the majority of Kenyans who need it but cannot afford it. It is also their ability to monitor efficacy,” said Dr Kigondu.
“Put another way, suppose a private entity starts selling the vaccine at a ‘high’ price and the vaccine is then declared ‘ineffective’,” he added.
Dr Akhwale also mentioned that final touches are in place to receive the first four million Covid-19 doses before the end of the month. The vaccines will be stored at the Ministry’s central depot in Kitengela with a storage capacity of up to 20 million vials.
The shots will then be distributed to the eight regional storage centres across the country. The head of the taskforce said upon arrival of the vaccines, the vaccination exercise will start in two weeks.