The US biotechnology company, Moderna, has suspended plans to build a  US$500 million vaccine plant in Kenya. In 2022, the firm inked a deal with government to invest in a facility that would produce 500 million shot per year. In response, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), voiced disappointment in Moderna’s decision to halt its plans citing the decreased demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

In a statement released on Monday, Africa CDC  said that blaming Africa for vaccine demand challenges perpetuates inequity, and further urged Moderna to support Africa’s public health security goals by contributing to local manufacturing efforts. The organization recalled Africa’s efforts to secure timely access to vaccines, with calls for equitable distribution going largely unanswered by the international community and industry. Late vaccine deliveries to Africa significantly impacted the region’s pandemic response and vaccine uptake.

Therefore, to blame Africa and Africa CDC for lack of demand for covid-19 vaccines and therefore the reason to put on hold plans to manufacture vaccines in Africa, only serves to perpetuate the inequity that characterized the response to the Covid–19 pandemic. While other vaccine manufacturers are progressing with their plans and construction in Africa, Moderna is abandoning a commitment to build highly needed and relevant vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Africa, in truth, demonstrating that Moderna’s commitment is in fact not to vaccine equity and access to vaccines, through building manufacturing in Africa.

Despite efforts such as the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), which procured vaccines from manufacturers other than Moderna due to unavailability, less than 5% of vaccines administered in Africa were from Moderna. Africa CDC facilitated vaccine clinical trials through the Consortium for COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial (CONCVACT), aiming to strengthen local manufacturing capabilities.

Africa CDC reaffirms its commitment to building local manufacturing capacity to achieve vaccine self-sufficiency by 2040 through initiatives like PHAHM.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *