The long awaited Covid 19 vaccines has finally arrived in the country.
The Ministry of Health received the first batch of the 1.02 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine which at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi on Tuesday night.
The vaccines arrived at 11.23 pm aboard Qatar Airways flight QR1341,and was received at the airport by senior Kenya Government officials led by the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and UNICEF Representatives.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) aided the transportation of the vaccines as part of the Covax facility, which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines for all countries around the world.
Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary while receiving the first batch of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport lauded the development. terming it a major milestone in the war against COVID 19 which has so far claimed 1,863 lives in the Country.
Kagwe confirmed that this is the first consignment of 1.02 million doses, part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.56 million doses, adding that the consignment was to be moved to stores in Athi River for onward distribution to counties and public hospitals ahead of the actual vaccination.
“This is historic in our fight against COVID-19. We have been fighting the pandemic with rubber bullets. We have acquired today is equivalent, metaphorically speaking, to bazookas and machine guns in the fight against the pandemic,” noted the Health CS.
The CS emphasized that priority will be given to the 400,000 health workers before others in the frontline like teachers, police and others are considered ahead of the rollout for people with underlying conditions before the rest of the people are vaccinated,” said the CS.
He further thanked UNICEF, WHO and GAVI for facilitating the procurement of the vaccine as well as aiding the transportation of the life-saving vaccines, and the Kenyan people for their cooperation over the past 11.5 months.
Kenya ordered 24 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, enough for 20 per cent of the country’s population.
However, Gavi said it will initially supply just a few doses to cover frontline workers and people with pre-existing health conditions (4,176,000 doses, according to a schedule shared by UNICEF, Gavi and the WHO).
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is based on the virus’s genetic instructions for building the spike protein. But unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the Oxford vaccine uses double-stranded DNA.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca team used a modified version of a chimpanzee adenovirus, known as ChAdOx1. It can enter cells, but it can’t replicate inside them.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses, given four weeks apart, to prime the immune system to fight off the coronavirus.
Research has shown that the combination of two full-dose shots led to just 62 per cent efficacy.
Ministry of Health will on Friday administer the first COVID 19 vaccine at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), in an exercise targeting health workers as the initial recipient.
by Alice Gworo