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One million doses of Covid-19 vaccine arrive on Tuesday

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy MERCY KAHENDA | Mon,Mar 01 2021 00:00:00 EAT
By MERCY KAHENDA | Mon,Mar 01 2021 00:00:00 EAT

There is a silver lining in the fight against coronavirus disease as the country is expected to receive 1.02 million doses of Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine on Tuesday 2 March, 2021.

Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe says the vaccine will arrive on Tuesday and will comprise 1.02 million doses. This is the first batch of the 4.1 million expected doses expected. Ultimately Kenya will import 24 million doses.

The vaccine will arrive in Kenya through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) facility. Healthcare workers in 47 counties are among those who will get the jab first. Frontline workers like security personnel and teachers are also on the priority list. 

Covid 19 Time Series


“Healthcare workers and other frontline workers in 47 counties will receive the vaccine in the county referral hospitals,” said Kagwe.

Political rallies flout health protocols

The CS’ announcement came at a time when Kenyans have relaxed in observing health protocols in the fight against the disease, with the heightened political rallies being the key weak link in spreading the virus.

“ The arrival of the vaccine does not mean that we drop our guards. We are not yet out of the woods. The world does not have enough vaccines for everyone at the moment,” said Kagwe.

The vaccines are to be procured through Unicef, who are expected to manage shipment up to delivery.

Once cleared at the port, the vaccines will be transferred to Central Vaccines stores in Kitengela, and subsequently to the nine regional depots across the country.

Other depots are in Nyeri, Meru, Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisumu and Garissa.

At least 479 Level IV, V and VI hospitals have been selected to be used for dispensation of the vaccine. Among them, 195 are private.


Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the vaccine will arrive on Tuesday. [File, Standard]

Collins Taabu, the head of the National Vaccines and Immunisation Programme in Kenya, explained: “We are expecting 4.1 million doses of the vaccine. The first shipment will be 1.02 million doses.”

Speaking to The Standard, Taabu said the vaccines storage will maintain 2-8 degrees Celsius from manufacturers, transportation and distribution process, depots and service delivery points as they wait to be administered.

The vaccines will be kept at cold storage at the airport before they are cleared and moved to national and regional distribution depots.

“We expect to receive Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. This is what will fit in our storage ranges for deployment,” Taabu said.

Willis Akhwale, the chair of the Covid-19 task force, said both private and public hospitals will be used to carry out the vaccination.

Public hospital will offer the vaccine for free

Vaccination in public hospitals will be free, while the modality of standard pay in private facilities is still being worked on to prevent exploitation.

“Covid-19 vaccine will be administered free in public hospitals, while at private facilities you will pay a fee that will be agreed on,” said Akhwale.

A dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca is USD 7 (Sh768.39) while other vaccines range from USD 32 (Sh3,488) to USD 38 (Sh4,142).

The announcement on the arrival of the vaccines was made last week after a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.

According to the vaccination plan, the first phase will target 1.25 million people, while phase two will target 9.76 million individuals above the age of 50 and those with comorbidity. At least 4.9 million people are factored in the third phase.

The ministry notes that from the main depots, the vaccine distribution is expected to follow the existing distribution chain from the national to sub-county level.

Despite current global concerns about the vaccine’s effectiveness against the new coronavirus variants, the ministry supports acquisition due to its low prices and cold chain requirements of 2-8 degrees Celsius in addition to having already been prequalified by the World Health Organisation.

According to various researches, efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been fluctuating, with most studies showing efficacy to be around 75 per cent.

Other vaccines as part of Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) include Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnsons, Sinopharm and Sinovac. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected amid increased cases of infections in the country.

Yesterday, the country reported the highest positivity rate of coronavirus. According to documentation by the Ministry of Health, the country had a positivity rate of 9.9 per cent. At least 328 people tested positive for the disease out of 3,282 tests.

Cumulative tests since the pandemic was reported in Kenya now stand at 1,298, 838. In addition, two people succumbed to the disease, bringing the death toll to 1,856 since the pandemic was reported last March.

The number of people hospitalised in different facilities across the country was 34 in addition to 1,495 managed under the Home-Based Isolation and Care.

“Fifty-eight patients are in the Intensive Care Unit, 26 of whom are on ventilator support and 28 on supplementary oxygen. Four patients are on the observation,” read a statement by the ministry yesterday.

Kagwe spoke at Mugunda Catholic Parish in Nyeri County during the celebration of Italian Catholic priest Romano Filippi’s 50th anniversary since he landed in Kenya. The CS was accompanied by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, Woman Rep Rahab Mukami, Kieni MP Kanini Kega, and several members of the County Assembly, among other guests.

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