The Star (Kenya)

Back-room deals may deny Kenya virus vac­cine

Rich coun­tries have pre-or­dered over three bil­lion doses through se­cretly signed Ad­vance Pur­chase Agree­ments

- JOHN MUCHANGI @jo­munji Medical Activism · Vaccines · Medical Treatments · Kenya · World Health Organization · The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria

Al­though the world may have sev­eral ap­proved Covid-19 vac­cines early next year, most Kenyans will be un­able ac­cess them un­til 2022, le­gal ex­perts have warned. ey say rich coun­tries have al­ready pur­chased in ad­vance all the doses many man­u­fac­tur­ers can pos­si­bly make in one year. e coun­tries have al­ready pre-or­dered more than three bil­lion doses through se­cretly signed Ad­vance Pur­chase Agree­ments.

An anal­y­sis co-au­thored by Kenyan hu­man rights lawyer Al­lan Maleche and pub­lished in e Lancet jour­nal, warns such hoard­ing will cre­ate short­ages in poor coun­tries.

“Gov­ern­ments that do not have the fi­nan­cial re­sources to pur­chase vac­cines at com­pa­ra­ble prices or en­gage in com­mer­cial ne­go­ti­a­tions are at risk of not hav­ing ac­cess to vac­cines when they first be­come avail­able and of hav­ing ac­cess de­lays while man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity is ful­filled first by wealthy coun­tries’ or­ders,” the au­thors say.

Maleche is a board mem­ber of the Global Fund — rep­re­sent­ing de­vel­op­ing coun­tries’ NGOS. He is also the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Kenya Le­gal and Eth­i­cal Is­sues Network on HIV and Aids (Kelin), a lo­cal non­profit firm.

APAS are legally bind­ing con­tracts whereby one party, such as a gov­ern­ment, com­mits to pur­chase from a man­u­fac­turer a spe­cific num­ber of doses of a po­ten­tial vac­cine even be­fore it is de­vel­oped or ap­proved.

Such gov­ern­ments get the first ac­cess once the vac­cine is ap­proved, leav­ing poorer na­tions to miss out or be forced to wait years.

“is is likely to con­trib­ute to in­equities and po­ten­tially ex­tend pandemic’s time frame,” the re­port says.

It is co-au­thored by Alexan­dra Phelan, Mark Ec­cle­ston-turner, Michelle Rourke, and Chen­guang Wang.

Kenya is bet­ting on an in­ter­na­tional ef­fort to se­cure sup­plies through a joint fund called the Covax fa­cil­ity, spear­headed by Gavi and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Covax aims to se­cure two bil­lion vac­cine doses in ad­vance, with one bil­lion to be shared by 92 de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and the other bil­lion go­ing to 75 wealth­ier coun­tries.

 ?? / REUTERS ?? A med­i­cal worker takes a swab from a truck driver dur­ing test­ing for Covid-19 at the Na­manga one-stop bor­der point on May 12
/ REUTERS A med­i­cal worker takes a swab from a truck driver dur­ing test­ing for Covid-19 at the Na­manga one-stop bor­der point on May 12
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