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Kenya looking for alternative vaccine options, CS Kagwe

Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has assured all Kenyans who took the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine that the government is in the process of securing alternative COVID Vaccines.

CS Kagwe called on a little more patience as the government finds alternatives, asserting that they should not be worried about missing out on the second shot because the vaccine offers up to 70 per cent protection.

“All those who have been vaccinated will get their second dose,’ he said, and noted that there is no record of death as a result of not getting the second dose.

He however asserted that the delays that are being experienced due to unavailability of the AstraZeneca vaccines makes it not preferable in the region, adding that the government has put in place mechanisms of the same.

“The government is holding discussions with other manufacturers of vaccines like the Johnson and Johnson among others,” Kagwe said, and emphasized the need for African countries to have the capacity to manufacture their own vaccines.

“This will reduce the overreliance on aid from developed countries,” he added.

He however noted that they might recall “back doses from Counties where uptake has been low and redistribute them to Counties where the demand was high.

Kagwe sentiments comes a few days after Health Director-General, Patrick Amoth said that the ministry will not be able to give a second dose of COVID-19 vaccines until at least June, due to a shortage of AstraZeneca doses.

The Ministry of Health has vaccinated less than 2 per cent of Kenyans so far, but the Ministry of Health says efforts are underway to acquire millions of doses.

The government began vaccinating its population in March after getting 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from India with the second phase of vaccination projected to be in May.

But India, which is fighting a huge wave of COVID-19 cases, has banned the exportation of vaccines.

In a previous media brief, the chairperson of Kenya’s vaccine task force, Willis Akhwale, said the lack of doses has stopped the vaccination process.

The first people who got their jab at the beginning of March will now be due for their second dose the first week of June.

494 people have today tested positive to the Corona Virus disease, from a sample size of 6,428 tested in the last 24 hours, bringing the total COVID-19 positive caseload in the Country to 166,876 and cumulative tests so far conducted are 1,763,274.

by Alice Gworo

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