Kenya may select the Oxford-AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccine because it doesn’t require complex cold storage, unlike those of Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., according to a health ministry official.
Firm orders from the U.S. and EU for the latter two inoculations are in place until 2022, which could lead to delays, said Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary in the health department.
Kenya wants to secure quick access to a vaccine as its health system is stretched by the virus, with doctors threatening to join other medical workers in a nationwide strike over working conditions.
The AstraZeneca vaccine “seems to be more appropriate for our situation in Africa because it can be stored at temperatures” of other primary vaccines, Aman told reporters.
Kenya is open to “take on any vaccine that we are satisfied would be able to protect our people,” he said.
Clinical testing of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is continuing, with participants from Kenya and South Africa taking part in the global trials.
Nurses and clinical officers in Kenya started a strike on Monday in protest at poor working conditions such as lack of protective clothing, and non-payment of risk-allowances.
The labor ministry convened a meeting to address the health workers’ demands, Peterson Wachira, chairman of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, said by phone.
Doctors postponed postponed their planned industrial action by a fortnight to allow for more talks.
Kenya has 89,100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,545 fatalities as at Dec. 8, according to the Ministry of Health. -Bloomberg