The trials are being hosted at the Kilifi based KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust in the UK.
If the vaccine returns positive results guaranteeing over 90 percent protection and eventually endorsed by the World Health Organisation, Kenya will be at an advantage.
The trial team has vaccinated its first volunteers after receiving requisite regulatory and ethical approvals, from the ministry of health and the Kilifi county government.
The trial in Kenya involves 40 frontline workers in Kilifi County. Once the vaccine safety is confirmed, a further 360 volunteers will be recruited with possible expansion of the trial to Mombasa County.
Acting director of health Dr Patrick Amoth while making the disclosure said 12 vaccines are in their final phase of clinical trials.
“All these two vaccines are based on the same platforms: mRNA. We, therefore, remain cautiously optimistic” he said on his Twitter handle.
The Oxford coronavirus vaccine shows a strong immune response in adults in their 60s and 70s, raising hopes that it can protect age groups most at risk from the virus.
Researchers say the Lancet phase two findings, based on 560 healthy adult volunteers, are “encouraging”.
They are also testing whether the vaccine stops people developing Covid-19 in larger, phase three trials.
Early results from this crucial stage are expected in the coming weeks.
The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine has been developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca is under evaluation in several countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.
Three vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna – have already reported good preliminary data from phase three trials, with one suggesting 94% of over-65s could be protected from Covid-19.