Gov’t to expand Covid-19 vaccination target

Counties Nairobi Universal Healthcare

The government has directed that vaccination priority groups which was initially limited to persons aged 58 years and above be expanded to include all persons above 50 years.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Tuesday that with an improved vaccine supply, the bracket should be expanded further and also include all persons above 18 years, with an underlying medical condition or disability.

The CS who was speaking today when receiving a donation of deep freezers by the Japanese government and soft boxes by Universal Post Services (UPS) foundation said that Kenya has entered the next phase of its Covid-19 vaccination program, which is now characterized by the deployment of multiple quality assured vaccines that have different characteristics and requirements for storage and transportation

Kagwe said that the US government has donated another 2,032,290 doses of Pfizer Vaccines which will become the fourth type of Covid-19 vaccines available in the country.

“The first consignment of this donation for which we are most grateful will be made next week as this vaccine requires storage at minus 70 degrees, which is described as an Ultra Cold Chain temperature.

“We started by deploying the AstraZeneca Vaccine which requires plus 2 to plus 8 degrees for storage and administration. This was followed by Moderna Vaccine which is stored and transported at minus 20 degrees. Yesterday, we rolled out Johnson and Johnson Vaccine which requires plus 2 to plus 8 degrees, but can be frozen and stored at minus 20.

The CS however noted that all these different types of vaccines present different challenges to the Government in as far as storage and deployment is concerned, saying that the Ministry has been making the necessary arrangements for their successful administration.

Kagwe confirmed that following the different interventions in the vaccination efforts, so far 3 million doses have been administered with over 814,000 people now fully vaccinated.

He explained that the government has further revised deployment plans with an aim of accelerating the program to reach the set targets.

“The revised plan provides clear guidance to counties in terms of expanding vaccination posts and conducting outreaches and the plan will be shared with the counties before the end of this week.

To open up the tourism sector, Kagwe said that they now want to include the entire hotel industry staff in addition to all other frontline workers already prioritized.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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