Kenya Officially Becomes a Member State of the International Vaccine Institute

June 6, 2024

Kenya has formally joined the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) as a Member State.

Kenya’s accession to the IVI strengthens the nation’s resolve to achieve self-reliance in vaccine production, President William Ruto said at the ceremony held to mark the country’s ratification of the IVI treaty at the agency’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday.

During the ceremony, President Ruto raised the Kenyan flag, followed by the playing of the National Anthem.

He noted that increased vaccine availability will enhance Kenya’s primary healthcare delivery and support disease prevention.

President Ruto emphasized that Kenya learned critical lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic challenges of accessing vaccines, highlighting the commitment to reduce reliance on external manufacturers of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.

“The time has come for Africa to actualize health sovereignty by liberating itself from dependency on unsustainable frameworks and accelerating initiatives to become self-sufficient in vaccine production,” he said.

The President stressed the urgent need to make vaccines universally accessible, regardless of nationality and status.

“In vaccine production and supply terms, no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

President Ruto thanked IVI for announcing that it would establish a country and project office in Nairobi, stating it would bolster Kenya’s Universal Health Coverage agenda and promote African self-reliance in vaccine production.

“Under this partnership, we will strive to strengthen our health systems by ensuring commodity security through research, development, and manufacturing,” he said.

President Ruto announced a tripartite agreement between the IVI, Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology to further boost the continent’s plan for cutting-edge research and training, consequently building a resilient healthcare system.

The International Vaccine Institute, headquartered in Seoul, is a global organization dedicated to developing and distributing safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health. IVI comprises a team of biomedical scientists, infectious disease experts, health professionals, and humanitarian leaders.

The institute aims to design and formulate new vaccines, optimize production processes for industrial scale-up, and develop new technologies to support clinical testing of vaccines in humans.

IVI also conducts research on vaccine safety with a focus on special populations like pregnant women, refugees, and internally displaced people.

With Kenya now a member, IVI’s network expands, fostering greater collaboration and resource sharing to tackle pressing health challenges. The establishment of the IVI office in Nairobi is expected to commence shortly, with plans already underway to set up the necessary infrastructure and staff.

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