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Ministry denies allegations on missing Covid-19 vaccines

Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe has denied media reports alleging that some Covid-19 vaccine doses cannot be traced.

Kagwe clarified that as of March 31, 2022, some 27,606,120 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been received at the National Vaccines Store as per import documents.

In a statement to newsrooms on, Kagwe said that the figure quoted by the media as having received 27,818,320 doses is erroneous.

“The majority (97 per cent) of these doses were donated through Gavi COVAX, AVAT (Mastercard) and bilateral external sources. This is a total of 26,708,520 out of the 27,606,120 doses,” said Kagwe.

The CS highlighted that the Ministry of Health, from the government budget, procured 897,600 doses of Janssen Vaccine in 2021 and these doses had all been dispatched to counties by 31st March 2022.

“As of March 31, 2022, a total of 24,299,680 had been distributed from the National Vaccines Store to regional stores, county stores and health facilities leaving a balance of 3,306,440, confirmed by a physical stock on March 31, 2022” said Kagwe.

He explained that there was no deficit observed and therefore the figure of 1,566,973 doses being quoted is erroneous adding that as of March 31, 2022, a total of 843,718 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine had been reported as expired at county and regional level as opposed to the figure of 697,624 doses quoted in the article.

“Globally more than 240 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine are reported to have passed their expiration dates since the beginning of the vaccination campaign. Chanjo KE data download of doses administered as of March 31st 2022, indicates total doses administered by counties as 17,891,768 as opposed to 16,933,213 quoted,” said the CS.

He said that to confirm this, it is captured in their daily reports as uploaded and shared with the public on our Ministry of Health Website: https://www.health.go.ke in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) policy on the use of opened multidose vaccine vials, at least 10-30 per cent vaccine wastage at the health facility level is expected.

“This is because Covid-19 vaccine vials are only usable for 6 hours once opened, and therefore remaining doses will be discarded after 6 hours to prevent contamination,” explained the CS.

He added that Covid-19 vaccine vials have more than one dose per vial ranging from 6-14 doses per vial.

Kagwe said that as per the immunization policy, the vaccine vial must be opened even when only one client is available at the health facility to ensure that clients access services on time adding that in the month of March 2022, the average national overall wastage was 15 per cent.

“The Ministry of Health has provided a standard training package and policy guidance on deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine. In collaboration with County Governments, the Ministry of Health has trained all vaccinators and immunization managers at national and county (including Trans-Nzoia and Lamu counties) on deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine,” said the CS.

He continued: “The Ministry of Health reiterates its commitment to ensuring all adults and children above 12 years are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Hospitalization and deaths have reduced following introduction of vaccines against Covid19; however, the risk persists particularly with global emergence of variants of concern.”

Kagwe said that in light of this, the Ministry of Health will be accelerating vaccination against Covid-19 between October and December 2022 with an aim to ensure that Kenyans are protected against the disease.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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