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Public Health ministry receives 730,000 swine flu vaccine doses

BUSIA
By | April 15th 2010

By Elizabeth Mwai

Kenya has received 730,000 doses of swine flu vaccine from the World Health Organisation.

But some medics have expressed concern H1N1 vaccine is no longer a threat as the pandemic had died out.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo cautioned that although transmission tapered off in December, the influenza pandemics occur in waves and as such Kenya must be prepared.

"Fears still remain that another wave could start anytime and as you may be aware subsequent waves tend to be more severe," said Mrs Mugo.

Speaking at the ministry headquarters while receiving the consignment, Mugo said distribution of the vaccines would cost Sh34 million.

The minister announced 110,000 health workers would be vaccinated in the next two weeks as they are under high risk. In addition, 621,000 pregnant women and persons with chronic health conditions including diabetes, asthma and immune suppression will also be vaccinated.

Anti-bodies

Mugo said the vaccine is highly efficacious with more than 90 per cent of recipients developing antibodies against the flu. WHO Country Director David Okello appealed to the Government to facilitate full implementation of the HIN1 campaign.

Dr Okello cited South Africa as one of the countries that have taken protection of citizens through vaccination seriously.

He said the vaccine will be introduced en masse and not on trial basis as it had already been tested and tried elsewhere in Africa.

The director said besides the vaccine donation, WHO was also giving Sh8m for distribution of the vaccine.

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