Corporate Kenya Steps Up to Buy Vaccines With Eye on Economy

Kenyan companies are contributing funds to buy Covid-19 vaccines to help accelerate inoculations so the government can lift virus-control measures that have throttled the economy.

“It makes business sense to invest in vaccines rather than spend much more in paying hospital bills,” said Carole Kariuki, chief executive officer of Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the lobby behind the initiative. “This will help in economic recovery.” 

The entities have already mobilized enough money for the government to order 240,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines, which are expected to arrive next week, Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Thursday in a statement. Companies that donate will be allocated an equivalent number of shots that can be administered to staff, family and in communities where they operate.

The government has banned private vaccine procurement. It has so far received 3.6 million doses -- mostly donations of AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer -- from bilateral partners and the Covax facility. It has committed 2 billion shillings ($18.2 million) to buy J&J vaccines through the African Union’s Vaccine Acquisition Trust, Kagwe said. 

While the government aims to vaccinate all adults by end of 2022, only about 3% have been fully inoculated so far, primarily with the two-shot AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health data. About 4.16 million doses are expected to arrive in coming weeks, Kagwe said.

Some deliveries in the pipeline:

  • A consignment of 393,000 Johnson & Johnson doses is due to arrive on Friday, the first of 13 million shots Kenya has ordered.
  • A donation of 55,200 AstraZeneca doses from Latvia is expected on Saturday.
  • About 800,000 Moderna shots, donated by U.S. government, will arrive Monday.
  • Some 1.8 million Pfizer and 200,000 Sinopharm shots will be delivered in mid-September.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.