• WHO wants priority given to vulnerable groups such as the healthcare workers, those with comorbid conditions and the old citizens.
• The trials had been paused to allow for investigations into whether the side effects were linked to the vaccine.
Kenya is still hopeful to take part in the Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials when they resume.
The clinical trials for Oxford and AstraZeneca’s ChAdOx1 vaccine had been suspended after one of the patients in the UK exhibited adverse reactions.
The trials had been paused to allow for investigations into whether the side effects were linked to the vaccine.
The vaccine has, however, been deemed safe for trials to continue. About 4,000 Kenyans are expected to be enrolled for the trials.
So far, more than 180 candidate vaccines are on trial, with five already being tested in phase 2 and 3.
Health director general Patrick Amoth said participating in the trials will give Kenya an upper hand in accessing the vaccine when it's finally available.
“We are working very closely with Oxford because we have partnered with them even before this Covid-19 pandemic. We will be part of this vaccine trial with our team in Kemri, Kilifi,” Amoth said.
“When we eventually get a vaccine that is safe and works, we can be certain that it will work for our population.”
As hope on the availability of the vaccine gets closer, who gets the initial supply remains a question experts have been trying to solve.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation released a worldwide vaccine distribution plan.
WHO wants priority given to vulnerable groups such as the healthcare workers, those with comorbid conditions and the elderly.
“The priority must be to vaccinate some people in all the countries, rather than all the people in some countries. Vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic not shorten it,” director general Tedros Ghebreyesus said.
WHO guidelines don’t include the order in which certain groups would receive the vaccine, but the plan highlights certain vulnerable groups as a higher priority for global impact, with some flexibility based on each country’s unique needs.
Local transmission patterns, the general quantity of supplies of the vaccine and a nation’s infrastructure will also determine distribution strategy.
As the vaccine becomes available, it may be first-line strategy to vaccinate teachers and school staff, the WHO said.
“For these reasons, we believe strongly that as members of the global scientific community, we should participate in this to be able to inform science going forward,” Amoth said.
Kenya is part of the Covax facility, an initiative by Gavi and the WHO where the international community aims to raise $37 billion towards availing to vaccine.
Covax is open to all countries to ensure no country is left without access to a Covid-19 vaccine. It aims to procure and deliver two billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021.
With several vaccine candidates showing promise, Unicef, in collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, will lead efforts to procure and supply doses of Covid-19 vaccines.
They will procure on behalf of Covax for 92 low and middle-income countries whose purchases will be supported by the mechanism through the Gavi Covax AMC as well as a buffer stockpile for humanitarian emergencies.