Kenya could be part of the countries set to receive the Pfizer vaccine following the announcement of an agreement between American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer and BioNTech SE with the Covax Facility.
Kenya, which is one of the 92 countries that will receive the jabs, has already applied for 24 million vaccines and could either get the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine or the Pfizer BioNTech depending on the distribution by the Covax Facility.
Covax is a global initiative coordinated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization (WHO), and is meant to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income levels. Kenya is part of this facility.
This new development comes after Pfizer announced an advance purchase agreement with Covax Facility for up to 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine.
The company said the doses will be delivered throughout 2021.
Covax programme is the main global scheme to vaccinate people in poorer countries around the world against coronavirus.
It aims to deliver at least two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 to cover 20 per cent of the most vulnerable people in 92 poor and middle-income countries, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The first doses are expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021, subject to the negotiation and execution of supply agreements under the Covax Facility structure.
Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said that through the Covax Advanced Market Commitment, which aims to secure doses for 92 low- and middle-income countries, Pfizer and BioNTech will provide the vaccine to Covax at a not-for-profit price.
"At Pfizer, we believe that every person deserves to be seen, heard and cared for. That's why from the very beginning of our vaccine development programme, Pfizer and BioNTech have been firmly committed to working toward equitable and affordable access of Covid-19 vaccines for people around the world," Mr Bourla said.
Here in Kenya, the government has announced that it will vaccinate as per the African Union (AU) guidelines, which state that frontline workers will have priority to receive the limited doses of vaccine ordered.
The country is so far looking at three channels of acquiring the Covid-19 vaccine, all by the end of the first quarter of Year 2021.
The Health ministry has said it ordered a total of 24 million vaccines through the WHO and Gavi, which is looking to securing vaccines for poor and middle-income countries such as Kenya.
The announcement comes at a time when the WHO said that Africa stands to lose out on access to the Covid-19 vaccine.
In a statement, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said "Africa is in danger of being left behind as countries in other regions strike bilateral deals, driving up prices."
She said that already, 40 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in 50 mostly high-income countries, whereas Guinea is the sole low-income nation to provide vaccines, which have only been administered to 25 people.
She added that Seychelles, which is a high-income country, is the only one on the continent that has started a national vaccination campaign.