Relief as Measles and polio vaccines arrive

A child being immunised against Polio in Wajir County on March 19, 2019. Health Ministry says there is no shortage of such drugs. [File, Standard]
The Ministry of Health is expected to start distribution of 4.1 million doses of measles and polio vaccines to counties and sub-county hospitals.

This is after the arrival of a consignment of 2.2 million doses of polio vaccine and 1.9 million doses of Measles Rubella (MR) vaccines amid claims of shortages across the country.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the arrival of the batch is an assurance that the country has enough stock of the lifesaving vaccines.

“There is no shortage as it has been reported. I am here to confirm that vaccines are in the country and they will be distributed to the hospitals,” said the CS when she visited the country vaccines depot in Kitengela at the weekend.

SEE ALSO :Getting measles 'resets' the body's immune system

Ms Kariuki said the vaccines have been fully procured and paid for by the Government through an international agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

“Later this month, we expect to receive more vaccine procured through a joint investment between the Government of Kenya and the Global Alliance for Vaccines Initiative (GAVI), a key immunisation partner,” said the CS.

Parents across the country and hospitals have been grappling with a shortage of vaccines since the beginning of the year, which got worse in the last two months.

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Polio, yellow fever, measles, and BCG are some of the vaccines that The Standard reported as being in short supply. Such exposed newborns to life- threatening diseases that could either leave them with paralysis like polio and TB meningitis which have such symptoms.

However, the CS has assured the country that there is no shortage of vaccines and more consignments will be received at the depot in a short time.

SEE ALSO :More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year: WHO

“We would therefore like to assure parents, guardians and the community that vaccines are available and urge them to continue taking children for immunization at their nearest health facilities,” she said.

CS Kariuki said the Government spends more than Sh7 billion annually to provide immunisation services, with at least Sh1.2 billion spent on vaccine procurement.

The ministry is responsible for providing immunisation services free of charge.

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MeaslesPolioVaccinationSicily Kariuki