Science Africa and the Cornell Alliance for Science are presenting a free webinar, “COVID vaccine: What’s at stake for Africa?”, on 23 September to explore the continent’s role in the global vaccine process.

The event will begin at 1PM GMT, 4PM (Kenya), 3PM (South Africa) and 1PM (Ghana) and last about 90 minutes. In addition to information presented by a panel of experts representing South, West and East Africa, questions will be accepted from journalists and others in the online audience.

“We are co-hosting this webinar to provide critical and factual insight into Africa’s role in the global efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, including the scientific, regulatory and political perspectives, in order to improve public awareness, understanding and perceptions on the continent,” said Otula Owuor, a renowned science journalist and founding editor of the ScienceAfrica magazine.

The expert panelists are:
• Prof. Shabir A. Madhi, professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Prof
Madhi is currently leading of Africa’s first Phase III clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines going in South Africa.
• Prof. Omu Anzala, professor of virology & immunology and lead research scientist at Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative at the
Institute of Clinical Research, University of Nairobi, Kenya; and
• Dr. Michael Owusu, a clinical microbiologist and a lecturer at the Department of Medical Diagnostics, Kwame Nkrumah
University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

Dr. Mercy Korir, one of Africa’s pioneering medical journalists and lead group editor-health and science with The Standard Media Group-Kenya, will moderate the panel discussion. Dr. Korir holds a degree in medicine and a master’s degree in development communication from the University of Nairobi.

The webinar will feature a science-based discussion of the critical issues surrounding COVID-19 vaccine development in Africa,
including the current status and safety of clinical trials of vaccines and who is involved in the clinical trials and why. It will also examine how vaccines are developed and distributed; the policy and regulatory requirements for development, registration, access and use of vaccines; the safety and efficacy of vaccines; the role of public sentiment in accepting or rejecting a COVID vaccine; and political will and its impact on vaccine access on the continent.

Additional topics for discussion include other measures for controlling the pandemic on the continent and the potential role of a COVID-19 vaccine in those efforts; the status of Africa’s efforts to move into vaccine development; and Africa’s roles and responsibilities within the context of the global response to COVID.

“We’re looking forward to a robust and civil discussion on a topic that is central to Africa during this global pandemic,” Owuor said.

“We urge journalists and all stakeholders to register and take advantage of this opportunity to engage the continent’s leading
biomedical experts.”

The webinar will run on the Cornell Alliance for Science AfS Live! Zoom platform. Participants may register at It will also be livestreamed on the Alliance for Science (Science Ally) Facebook page.

For information contact:
Daniel Otunge at or Otula Owuor at