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Kenya's immunisation efforts resurge with arrival of 8 million vaccine doses

 A child receives drops of Polio Vaccine in Eastleigh, Nairobi. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The Ministry of Health says that over eight million doses of child immunisation vaccines have arrived in the country, replenishing supplies and averting a nationwide stock out.

 A sum of Sh1.25 billion has been expended towards this effort, facilitating the acquisition of 1.2 million doses of Measles Rubella vaccine, 3 million doses of oral polio vaccines, 1 million doses of tetanus-diphtheria vaccines, and 3.1 million doses of BCG vaccine.

Medical Services PS Harry Kimtai acknowledged the delay in supply and assured that vaccine doses will be fully available in health facilities by next week.

"The received vaccines are currently being processed for urgent distribution to the nine regional vaccine stores across the country," he said.

At the same time, Kimtai highlighted the engagement of additional refrigerated trucks to expedite the delivery process, ensuring timely access to the life-saving vaccines by the second week of June 2024.

PS Kimtai emphasised that the arrival of the doses marks a resumption of the immunisation schedule after a brief interruption.

He urged healthcare workers to collaborate with community health teams to ensure children who missed vaccinations return to facilities and catch up on their immunisation schedule.

The PS further encouraged caregivers to bring their children back for immunisation as vaccine supply has normalised in the country.

The acute vaccine shortage, reported at the start of May, posed a risk of children contracting deadly but vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, polio, tetanus, and tuberculosis.

Despite earlier reports attributing the short supply to reduced donor funding from organisations like Gavi and UNICEF, the latest vaccine procurement has been secured through the Gavi Vaccine Alliance.

The Ministry of Health is in discussions with the National Treasury to bolster funding for child immunisation programmes, ensuring a consistent vaccine supply.

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