President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has ordered the ministry of health to shop for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine in China, a government official has disclosed.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe, in a statement on Monday, said President Kenyatta gave the order following the increasing cases of the disease in Kenya.
“Covid-19 seems to be making a comeback with a vengeance and for us in Kenya, the cases in the counties seem to be growing,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said on Monday.
“While Kemri continues to collaborate with AstraZeneca and Oxford University in the trials for this vaccine, the government remains open to other collaborative opportunities.”
On Monday, 302 people tested positive for the virus, from a sample of 3,038 bringing the total of positives since March 13 to 83,618.
The death rate remains high and yesterday 17 people succumbed to the virus, bringing total fatalities to 1,469.
There are now more than 80,000 people who have been confirmed Covid-19 positive in Kenya. More than 1,400 have died from the disease.
The country’s decision comes in the wake of rich countries in the west buying nearly 3.8 billion doses of vaccines currently in development, according to a study by Duke Global Health Innovation Centre.
China has five home-grown vaccine candidates in phase three trials, usually, the last step before government regulators vet the vaccine for approval.
Chinese President Xi Jinping already promised the successful candidates will be offered to Africa at a discounted price leading to China being accused of ‘vaccine diplomacy.’ However, countries, where the Chinese vaccines are being tested, will receive preference.