Moderna to set up its first vaccine plant in Africa in Kenya

U.S. vaccine maker Moderna announced Monday that it will build its first African vaccine plant in Kenya, after signing a preliminary agreement with that country to produce 500 million doses a year.
The company intends to invest $500 million (€460 million) in the facility, which will produce messenger RNA vaccines for the entire African continent, which is still largely short of doses to fight Covid-19.
“The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years has been a reminder of the work needed to ensure equitable access to health. Moderna is determined to be part of the solution,” Stephane Bancel, its chief executive, said in a statement.
Moderna says it hopes to begin distributing its Covid-19 vaccine in Africa next year, with the goal of increasing immunization coverage in countries with the least protection against the virus.
More than a year after the world’s first dose of Covid vaccine was administered, only 12.7% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are fully vaccinated.
The pandemic has highlighted the continent’s immense dependence on imported vaccines.
Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the creation of a vaccine hub in South Africa, with the aim of providing technology transfer to other countries, including Kenya.
Currently, only 1% of vaccines used in Africa are produced on the continent.