The Government through the Ministry of Health has received an additional 407,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK Government under the COVAX facility.
This follows the recent receipt of slightly more doses which were distributed and administered countrywide.
In total, the UK government has now donated 817,000 doses to the Kenya.
In a speech read on his behalf by Health Director General Dr Patrick Amoth yesterday night at the Jomo Kenyatta airport when receiving the consignment, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the government is grateful as the gesture goes a long way in ensuring Kenyans are vaccinated and protected against Covid-19 disease.
The CS said the vaccines received would be distributed countrywide to enable people to be vaccinated.
“This consignment is particularly a major boost, coming at a time when the country is experiencing a high demand of the vaccine in all counties,” he said.
He confirmed that so far, 2.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have been administered with at least 750,000 people fully vaccinated.
Kagwe said the government is targeting to vaccinate at least 10 million Kenyans by December 2021 and 26 million by June 2022.
He added that the additional doses received would bolster the country towards meeting this goal.
The CS said that although there have been concerns about unavailability of vaccines at various vaccination sites across the country, it does not mean there is hesitancy in vaccine uptake.
“Where supplies have been better, we have witnessed more demand and this is as it should be. With the recent ramped up supplies, access to vaccines has greatly improved,” he said.
The CS assured that it will get even better over the next few days as the country expects more doses.
First, he confirmed that approximately 390,000 of Johnson & Johnson and 1.7m doses of Moderna would be coming in possibly this coming week and later in the month, and that another consignment of approximately 400,000 doses was expected from Canada while Pfizer vaccines were coming from the USA in Mid- September.
To deploy ultra-cold chain storage for vaccines, the CS announced that the Government would be receiving cold storage equipment next week from the Government of Japan and later in the month, more equipment would come from American firm, United Parcel Services.
“We shall be saying more about this capacity in the coming days as we receive the equipment but in view these developments, the vaccine access challenges that we have been experiencing will no longer be an issue as we shall be distributing Covid vaccines to all parts of the country,” he said.
Kagwe urged all eligible persons to take the vaccine at the approved centres especially Health workers, teachers, security officers, frontline workers, those aged above 58 years of age and those aged above 18 years with co-morbidities.
The approved sites where the vaccines could be taken were on the Ministry of Health website.
To manage traffic, all persons intending to get vaccinated were also encouraged to first register on the online chanjo system on portal.health.go.ke.
The CS thanked the UK government represented by the Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Julius Court, UNICEF, WHO and other partners for all their efforts in ensuring that Kenya receives this ‘much needed shot in the arm.’
“These vaccines are a welcome gift to the people of Kenya as they line up to get their shots of life saving Covid-19 vaccines,” Kagwe said.
Kagwe thus asked Kenyans not to forget the containment measures that included hand washing with soap and water, wearing of face masks at all times when in public places, maintaining social and physical distance, and avoiding all forms of gatherings be they social or political as well as sanitizing.
By Wangari Ndirangu