Moderna Pauses Kenya Plant Plan After Losing $1 Billion as COVID-19 Vaccine Demand Slumps

By Madz Dizon

Apr 11, 2024 08:19 AM EDT

Moderna Pauses Kenya Plant Plan After Losing $1 Billion as COVID-19 Vaccine Demand Slumps
The Moderna campus seen in Norwood, Massachusetts on on December 2, 2020, where the biotechnology company is mass producing its Covid-19 vaccine.
(Photo : JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

The US biotech company Moderna has decided to postpone its plans to construct a vaccine plant in Kenya. 

This decision indicates a shift in priorities, as investments in pandemic preparedness in Africa have taken a backseat due to the decline in sales of COVID-19 vaccines.

Moderna Puts African Vaccine Plant on Hold

Moderna's initiative aimed to expand the availability of vaccines to regions that have faced significant challenges in obtaining them.

According to Bloomberg, Africa has been making efforts to decrease its dependence on global sources for vaccine supplies. 

A year ago, the Boston-based company entered into an agreement with the Kenyan government to invest approximately $200 million in a facility capable of producing up to 500 million vaccine shots yearly.

However, according to two individuals familiar with the matter, the company has not yet purchased a plot in a special economic zone near Nairobi. 

High-ranking officials from the United States and an East African nation, including President William Ruto, collaborated to finalize the agreement.

READ NEXT: Shohei Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Negotiates Guilty Plea Following Gambling Scheme 

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Sales Decline

According to sources, the Kenyan government provided Moderna with various tax incentives and allowed the company to significantly reduce its initial investment of $500 million.

However, with declining sales of its messenger RNA-based vaccine, the company has encountered a delay in acquiring a five to 10-acre plot in the Tatu City economic zone. The price of land in the industrial park is approximately $1 million per acre.

Moderna has announced that it has halted its plans to construct a vaccine plant in Kenya, according to a statement given to the Financial Times. "The demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Africa has decreased since the pandemic, which is not enough to sustain the factory," stated a source.

Commitments made by governments and pharmaceutical companies to address vaccine equity and pandemic preparedness have lost priority on the political agenda.

Meanwhile, disagreements between wealthier and poorer nations may result in a delay of the pandemic treaty beyond the World Health Organization's May deadline.

READ MORE: US, Japan Vow New Collaboration to Push for Next Generation Nuclear Power

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics