Kenya is unable to afford Covid-19 vaccine at Sh300 per dose, the subsidised price set by one appointed distributor from India.
The country is among 92 other poor nations that will need to be supported through a further reduction of the price.
At least nine candidate vaccines, if approved, will be distributed around the world at highly reduced prices through an initiative led by Gavi, an alliance based in Geneva that helps poor countries access vaccines.
The initiative, currently backed by 172 countries, will ensure all of them get the Covid-19 vaccines as early as possible even if they cannot afford.
Eighty of those countries have said they can self-finance and subsidise the cost further for the poorer ones.
In a list provided by Gavi, in Africa, only South Africa and Botswana have publicly said they can afford the Sh300 per dose.
“These countries will have limited resources to access future Covid-19 vaccines: it is our duty to support them,” Gavi board chairman Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement recently.
The University of Oxford vaccine candidate would need to be administered at two doses for about a year-long protection.
Gavi has now asked countries that can pay to confirm by August 31 and make full payments by October 9 to enable manufacturers to prepare.
The World Health Organization is currently tracking more than 170 candidate vaccines, according to its latest update.
None has been licensed but eight front-runners are in the final phase three evaluation.
The list does not feature Sputnik V, the world’s first coronavirus vaccine produced by Russia, which Western scientists say has not been adequately tested.
Gavi said it has so far identified nine candidates to be financed through its Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (Covax Facility).
Others are CureVac of Germany (Phase I), University of Queensland, Australia (Phase I), University of Hong Kong (Preclinical), and Clover Biopharmaceuticals, China (Phase I).
Covax is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi), and WHO – in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers.
It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure Covid-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both high-and low-income countries.
A collaboration between one manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India (SII), Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced earlier this month will ensure up to 100 million doses of AstraZeneca or Novavax’s candidate vaccines, if successful, will be available to poor countries through the Covax Facility at just US$3 (Sh300) per dose.