Boost to ongoing covid-19 vaccination efforts as Kenya receives 459,300 AstraZeneca vaccine doses

The ongoing countrywide Covid-19 vaccination received a boost on Thursday after an additional 459,300 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the country from Canada.

The latest consignment, which was brought into the country through the Covax facility, brings to 4,069,900 the number of Covid-19 doses so far received in Kenya with at least 806,404 people, representing about 2.96 % percent of the entire adult population, already fully vaccinated.

Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport while receiving the batch on behalf of Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe, Health principal secretary Susan Mochache said the latest consignment will bolster the ongoing nationwide vaccination drive in the country assuring that all the vaccines offered in the country are free of charge.

“I want to take this opportunity to reiterate to all of us, that all the vaccines we have in this country are offered free of charge to the citizens. All the vaccines which are either coming through our friends and partners or through the use of public funds to procure, are provided to faith-based facilities, private facilities, public facilities at absolutely no cost” said Mochache.

Mochache said the country is expecting another 4.16 million doses being an assortment of vaccines over the next few weeks. Amongst the expected doses is a consignment of Johnson and Johnson which is expected this Friday. On Monday, another consignment of Moderna vaccine doses donated by the United States government will also arrive in the country with Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines also expected in the country in coming weeks.

The Health PS urging Kenyans to report any cases of anyone, whether a health worker or a health facility demanding payment so as to offer Covid-19 vaccination services to relevant authorities.

Referring to a recent incident in Murang’a county where a politician mobilised an illegal vaccination drive, Mochache said seven people have so far been arrested even as she warned that anyone intent on interfering with the ongoing vaccination exercise will face the full force of the law.

“It is illegal, immoral for anyone to take advantage of this process   for purposes of political gain or for profiteering and trying to get political capital out of a matter that is so grave, a mater that threatens the very existence of our country and our people.” Mochache observed.

Mochache said the ministry of health has provided a list of registered vaccination sites where people can be vaccinated on its official website.

National Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment Chair Dr. Willis Akhwale urged Kenyans to take advantage of the ongoing exercise to get vaccinated against the disease. “This is not the season for people to cherry pick which vaccines to take, all vaccines have the same efficacy.” Observed Akhwale.

Speaking at the same event, Acting Canadian Ambassador to Kenya David Anthony Da Silva said Canada remain committed to support Kenya deal with the adverse effects of the pandemic. “We believe that no one is safe in this pandemic until everyone is safe. Canada recognises that Covid-19 imposes a unique global challenge. It is in our common interest to work together to defeat this pandemic as a global community,” said Da Silva.

Total vaccinations stood at 2,792,309 at the close of business on Wednesday with total first doses being 1,985,905 while the second dose uptake stood at 40.6%.

The government is targeting to increase daily vaccination rates to 150,000 by December this year. Vaccination posts will also be increased from 800 to 3,000 by December with the number rising to 7,877 by June next year.

The first phase of vaccination began on 5th March 2021 with county vaccinations kicking off on 8th of March 2021. The second dose vaccination began on 28th May 2021. The roll out of the national vaccination campaign is being led by the Ministry of Health, with support from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and other partners.