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Private Sector Barred From Vaccine Procurement

Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has reiterated that the government will be solely responsible in the Phase 1 procurement of Covid-19 vaccines in the Country.

Kagwe maintained that the private sector will only be allowed to join the vaccine roll-out plan mid-year in July once the government has set up a transparent and accountable system that will ensure Public Health Safety at all times.

The Health CS who was represented today by Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman at the Senate Standing Committee on Health stated that the government will procure the vaccines directly from manufacturers through bilateral agreements, the COVAX Facility as well as the AFRICA CDC Platform.

“No private entity will be involved in the government procurement of Covid-19 vaccines,” the Health CS submissions read, and defended the ban action which he noted was one in the best interests for the public health of all Kenyans.

The Ministry of Health had admitted that the Sputnik V vaccine had been approved and duly-licensed for distribution by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, but in its media release noted that the vaccine was being “irregularly deployed,” compelling the ban.

Kagwe whose submissions were made in a live proceeding also stated that so far about 400,000 people in Kenya have received the AstraZeneca vaccine from the one million doses imported last month.

“A further 25 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are expected in Kenya,” Rashid quipped during his submission.

Last week on Friday the Ministry of Health announced that it had banned the importation, distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines by private enterprises.

“Co-participation of the private sector in the vaccination exercise now threatens the gains made in the fight against Covid-19 and we risk having counterfeit vaccines in the market,” Kagwe said in a statement sent to newsrooms.

The Ministry of Health had said that 75,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine had been imported into the country, adding that only those who had already received the jab prior to the ban will be allowed to receive the vaccine once they are due for the second dose.

The Kenyan government is administering the AstraZeneca vaccines acquired through the global COVAX facility.

Yesterday the Law Society of Kenya moved to court to challenge the decision by the government to ban private sector importation, distribution, and administration of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The lawyers’ body argues that the directive issued by the president on March 26 was not founded upon any provision of law and is therefore unlawful and unconstitutional.

By Alice Gworo

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