Kenya: Private companies to import Covid-19 vaccines
The Health Ministry will allow some private pharmaceutical companies to import coronavirus vaccines to compliment government efforts.
According to the ministry, discussions are underway with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) to issue the companies a conditional market authorization in a bid to bridge the access gap and increase the number of doses in the country.
Speaking at a virtual meeting hosted by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), Covid-19 vaccine advisory taskforce Chairman Willis Akhwale said the government will monitor the prices and regulate the entire process.
The world has been using vaccines licensed through an emergency use authorisation (EUA), a mechanism that facilitates the availability and use of medical commodities like vaccines during public health emergencies such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. This authorisation opens the door for countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import and administer the vaccine.
During a global health crisis like the ongoing pandemic, the government has a responsibility to keep things under control. However, by opening the market for vaccines through conditional market authorisation, the potential threat of substandard or counterfeit vaccines could enter the market because this decision is not far-fetched.
Emergency use authorisation tends to restrict the purchase, import, and distribution to government.
With Kenya likely to start vaccination for healthcare workers as well as essential workers in March, the expert group on vaccines is in the process of finalizing the details for this phase.