Plan to set up multi-million shilling vaccine plant in top gear

Kenya BioVax Institute CEO Dr Michael Lusiola (left), World Bank Vice President for Human Development Mamta Murthi (centre) and State Department for Medical Services PS Harry Mutai when they toured Kenya BioVax Institute in Embakasi, Nairobi on February 7, 2024.  

Photo credit: File | Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Kenya will start construction of a multi-million-shilling vaccine manufacturing plant before the end of this year, following approval of funding from the World Bank.

Kenya BioVax Institute —the agency tasked with setting up the facility– disclosed that the World Bank has approved the funding, estimated at $120 million (Sh15.7 billion).

Some of the vaccines set for production once the plant becomes operational are for Tuberculosis, measles, mumps, typhoid, chicken pox, meningitis, rotavirus, tetanus and polio.

The facility, set to be the first of its kind in East Africa is key to easing the financial burden on Kenya in procuring vaccines, besides supplying neighbouring countries with the critical commodity.

“Civil works for this facility are scheduled to start in the next few months before the year ends. This will be the first phase, then we will have the equipment being delivered,” Dr Michael Lusiola, the CEO of Kenya BioVax Institute said.

“The construction is projected to take at least 12 months, then we will have an operational plant.”

Kenya BioVax Institute says that the plant will have two filling plants, helping meet Kenya’s annual demand for an estimated 16 million vaccines.

BioVax Institute was set up four years ago in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, as the country sought to avoid reliance on global suppliers for vaccines.

The country targets to roll out the first batch of locally manufactured vaccines by 2030, coinciding with the expected exit of the country’s biggest main vaccine donor and immunisation financier, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi).

Kenya is seeking to join African nations such as Senegal and South Africa, that are already manufacturing vaccines.

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