Pharmaceutical giant Moderna said on Monday that it would be building a manufacturing facility for mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines in Kenya. This would include much in demand and requirement vaccines against Covid-19. Moderns expect to invest approximately $500 million in the facility to be set up in Kenya, through which it will be supplying 500 million doses of mRNA vaccines to the African continent per year.
“In parallel, Moderna is also working on plans to allow it to fill doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Africa as early as 2023, subject to demand,” the company said as it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Kenya.
The MoU signing was witnessed by President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta who has been at the forefront of advocating for the continent to manufacture its own vaccines against Covid-19 amid a shortage of supply to the continent. “We are celebrating one of the greatest things that have possibly happened since the onset of COVID-19 at the African continent,” said President Kenyatta adding the building of Moderna facility in the country is going to be a game-changer.
Reiterating the challenges faced by Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the extreme lack of equitable distribution of vaccines, His Excellency thanked Moderna for taking a step forward to fill a void. “We all know the challenges that Kenya and the entire continent of Africa went through in the earlier stages of this pandemic that resulted in Africa being left behind. Not because of want but because of lack and Moderna has come to fill that space.”
“We are truly grateful, for this and I think it will be transformative not just in helping us with the current pandemic but also preparing the continent of Africa for future pandemics,” President Kenyatta said.
“Battling the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years has provided a reminder of the work that must be done to ensure global health equity. Moderna is committed to being a part of the solution and today, we announce another step in this journey – an investment in the Republic of Kenya to build a drug substance mRNA manufacturing facility capable of supplying up to 500 million doses for the African continent each year,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.