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Why Moderna Has Dropped Plans To Construct Vaccine Plant In Kenya

American drugmaker Moderna said on Thursday, April 12, that it had paused its plans to build an mRNA vaccine manufacturing plant in Kenya as demand for vaccines in Africa falls.

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ials labelled "VACCINE Coronavirus COVID-19" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna has stopped its initial plans to construct a Messenger RNA (mRNA) manufacturing facility in Kenya due to uncertainties regarding the demand for mRNA vaccines in Africa.

The decline in demand for Covid-19 vaccines since the peak of the pandemic has made the project economically unviable.

“Moderna has not received any vaccine orders for Africa since 2022 and has faced the cancellation of previous orders, resulting in more than $1 billion in losses and write-downs,” Moderna said in a statement.

Despite facing significant losses from cancelled orders, the Massachusetts-based company remains committed to ensuring fair access to its coronavirus jab in Africa through its global manufacturing network.

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Additionally, Moderna said that it is actively developing vaccines for diseases like HIV and malaria that disproportionately affect the continent.

“These initiatives are part of our broader commitment to help address global health challenges through our innovative mRNA technology. However, these investigational vaccines are at an early development stage,” the statement read.

Moderna believes it is prudent to pause the construction of the Kenyan facility to better align with evolving healthcare needs and vaccine demand in Africa.

The company acknowledges the support from the US and Kenyan governments and looks forward to future discussions on supporting Kenya’s healthcare system and advancing mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for African needs.

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