President William Ruto announced Kenya's formal membership in the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) during a ceremony at the agency's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

This move signifies a significant step towards the nation's goal of self-reliance in vaccine production.

President Ruto declared Kenya's accession to the IVI strengthens Kenya's resolve to achieve self-reliance in vaccine production while highlighting the ceremony's symbolic raising of the Kenyan flag and playing of the National Anthem.

The President emphasized the importance of increased vaccine availability, not just for bolstering Kenya's primary healthcare system but also for strengthening disease prevention efforts.

Kenya's decision stems from lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic, which exposed the challenges associated with vaccine accessibility.

President Ruto stressed the nation's commitment to reducing dependence on external vaccines and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

"The time has come for Africa to actualise health sovereignty by liberating itself from dependency on unsustainable frameworks, and accelerating initiatives to become self-sufficient in vaccine production," he emphasized.

President Ruto championed the ideal of universal vaccine access, underscoring, "In vaccine production and supply terms, no one is safe until everyone is safe."

He expressed gratitude to IVI for establishing a country and project office in Nairobi, a move that aligns with Kenya's Universal Health Coverage agenda and fosters African self-reliance in vaccine production.

"Under this partnership, we will strive to strengthen our health systems by ensuring commodity security through research, development and manufacturing," Ruto stated.

The President sees a tripartite agreement between IVI, Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology as a further boost to cutting-edge research, training, and ultimately, a resilient healthcare system for the continent.