The government has received a donation of 1.17 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines from the United States government.
The consignment now brings to over five million the number of donations from the US government.
The government is also expecting another consignment of one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine pushing the US donations to over six million.
The donations were received by Ministry of Health officials early Friday morning, led by the Chair of the taskforce on vaccines against Covid-19 Dr. Willis Akhwale.
While thanking the US government for the donation, Dr. Akhwale said it could not have come at a better time, when the Kenya government has accelerated the vaccination campaign in a bid to have herd immunity to curtail the spread of the virus.
He further noted that the Ministry of Health was happy with the donation noting the shelf life for Johnson and Johnson vaccine was two years and it could be stored in normal refrigerators and used over the same period.
“Kenyans have been concerned about the shelf life of vaccines but I would like to assure the public that the Ministry of Health is very cautious about the issue. The Pfizer vaccines set to arrive tomorrow will have a shelf life of nine months,” explained Dr. Akhwale.
The chair further noted that the government has resolved that any Covid-19 vaccines donations coming to the country must have a shelf life of three months to avoid any expiries.
Dr. Akhwale pointed out the move by those in hospitality industry to have only those vaccinated into their hotels was commendable.
He also commended the religious leaders who resolved to have their places of worship as vaccination centres for the next three months.
Dr. Akhwale expressed concern that vaccination for the elderly was not as expected and appealed to the youth to ensure they take their parents and grandparents for vaccination, noting that the elderly were more vulnerable in the event they contracted the virus.
Dr. Akhwale further appealed to school children aged 15 years and above to take advantage of the holidays and get vaccinated.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a