CS Kagwe on emerging COVID-19 vaccines: Let us rejoice but we won’t be guinea pigs
Published on: November 19, 2020 10:34 (EAT)
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has urged caution on the newly announced COVID-19 vaccines, saying Kenyans will not be guinea pigs of scientifically unproven treatment options. The CS spoke during a live interview on Citizen TV’s JKLive on Wednesday night. According to the CS, there was a huge risk of people across the world being used for commercial interests in the guise of the search for a COVID-19 cure. He noted that some vaccine trials had been halted in some parts of the world after subjects reacted adversely to it. AstraZeneca had stopped its trial in September when at least one participant developed unexplained neurological symptoms. Two other companies Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson had also halted clinical trials across the world after witnessing ‘an adverse event’ At the same time, Remdesivir-the only authorized Covid-19 treatment in the US- had been subject to probe whose finding was that it does not prevent coronavirus deaths. According to the Health Ministry boss, unless the vaccines are backed by science on their efficacy, Kenyans would not be subjected to tests. “Even as we speak, we are getting vaccines everyday, we want a vaccine as soon as yesterday, the sooner we get it the better because we will be saving lives, however we will not be prey to commercial interests for vaccines that have not even been tested by peer groups” CS Kagwe said. At the same time, he announced that The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) was working on a probable COVID-19 cure. “KEMRI is also working on a vaccine, what I’m saying is that we should be happy that there are vaccines but let us not be the guinea pigs,” he added. In the last two weeks, the rush for an effective COVID-19 vaccines has gained momentum with two US pharmaceutical companies announcing possible vaccines with over 90% efficacy. Moderna Inc announced earlier in the week that its vaccine whose trial involved 30,000 people had shown nearly 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19. The results came hot on the heels of similar results from Pfizer, which had announced a vaccine with 90% efficacy a week earlier.