Britain is assisting Kenya to prepare for the roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, its foreign secretary said, as African nations race to ensure their populations are inoculated.
The East African nation has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine and it expects delivery of the shots to start in the second week of February.
“It is for us not just our moral duty, but in the British national interest to see Kenyans vaccinated just as soon as we physically, logistically can,” Dominic Raab told a news conference during a visit to Nairobi.
Britain has provided technical assistance to the ministry of health to help prepare for the roll-out in Kenya to ensure it “gets to those who need it just as quickly as we physically possibly can”, Raab said, without offering more details.
The Kenya state medical research institute (KEMRI) has been carrying out trials of the vaccine locally but it has not released the results of the study yet.
Kenya’s government has ordered the vaccines through an African Union initiative aimed at ensuring African nations are not left behind, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said earlier this month.
There will also be direct importation of the shots, he said.
African countries will pay between $3 and $10 per vaccine dose to access 270 million COVID-19 shots secured this month by the African Union (AU), according to a draft briefing on the plan prepared by the African Export-Import Bank.
Kenya has so far reported 99,444 cases of COVID-19 infection after 1.13 million tests. It has also reported 1,736 deaths as of Wednesday, January 20.