Wealthier countries are rushing to bulk buy potential Covid-19 vaccines from drug manufactures even before phase III trials end. This means we should not expect the Covid-19 vaccine in Kenya any soon.
Researchers around the world are working on more than 165 vaccines against coronavirus, 27 of those vaccines are being tried on humans.
Most vaccines fail before phase I; trying on a limited number of people to see if it can stimulate immune response.
Though vaccines require years of research and testing before production phase, scientists are hopeful of getting a safe and effective vaccine by the end of this year or early next year.
The United States, Britain, and the European Union have already signed multi-billion dollar deals with giant drug companies in the likes of Pfizer, BioNtech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna, to get billions of the doses first before everybody else.
If this is not enough already, Britain signed another deal on Wednesday to secure advanced supplies of potential COVID-19 vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi.
Poor countries will wait desperately for at least two years as rich countries scramble for the vaccines and hoard them as long as they wish, then later on avail them to poor countries, like ours, with strings attached.
This is not new.
During the H1N1 flu in 2009/2010, rich nations bought up all the available supplies of the flu vaccines leaving none for poor countries.
Thanks to God, the H1N1 flu turned out to be mild and less pandemic and was later contained with limited infections and deaths.
It is like every man for himself and God for us all.
Vaccine manufacturers can only produce about 2 billion effective Covid-19 doses by the end of next year.
If you were to vaccinate the whole of the US and Europe with the Covid-19 vaccine, it will take about 1.7 billion doses of the vaccine.
That leaves nothing for the rest of the world.
Globally, there are 7 billion of us. If you do the maths, you will notice that it may take a while for us to get a piece of the Covid-19 vaccine in Kenya.
Even if you were to share the vaccine with 40 other countries, that leaves 150 more countries without the vaccine.
Not unless WHO convinces the wealthy nations to give priority to vulnerable people in poor countries to get access to the vaccine.
Health experts argue that ending the pandemic means ending it globally.
The experts also note that two years of the pandemic will leave enormous devastating economic and health consequences to the nations of the world.
So let us pray and hope that our own researchers will be successful in getting a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine in Kenya.
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