Kenya: What You Need to Know About Kenya's Quest for Covid-19 Vaccines

18 January 2021

When will Kenya get a vaccine?

Ministry of Health officials have given varying timelines as to when the first shipments will arrive in the country. For example, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has said that the first shipments will be in Kenya in the next 30 days. Yet, AfricaCDC, which is spearheading the continent's procurement of vaccines, has said that the earliest vaccines will be available is April.

Which vaccines is Kenya eyeing?

Health Director General Patrick Amoth said the country will use two vaccines from different manufacturers in a bid to see more people vaccinated. One of them is the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which has a stable temperature and can be stored in a standard refrigerator of between 2 and 8 degrees. Because of its stable temperature, the vaccine is easy to transport, distribute, and at between Sh300 and Sh500, it's the most affordable of the three vaccines.

Who will be the first to receive the vaccine?

Globally, health experts and governments have agreed to prioritise people who are most at risk of getting infected with Covid. These people include health workers, the elderly, and people who have underlying medical conditions. In some countries, populations who work in essential services like security personnels and teachers will also be given priority.

Will I have to pay for the vaccine and how many doses do I need?

Although CS Kagwe noted that the country intends to offer the vaccine free of charge to the public, the "no charge" policy may only be plausible to public health facilities and not private ones.

The drug manufacturers have advised that their vaccine requires two doses 21 to 28 days apart to deliver the best protection. This means that after you've received the initial jab (a prime), a second dose (booster) is required after a set period of weeks (depending on which vaccine you get, it could be three or four weeks).

This is required for both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be effective. However, several countries, starting with the UK, recently indicated plans to delay the second dose in order to give more people at least one dose as soon as possible.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that people should get two doses of the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine within 21 and 28 days.

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