Nairobi — The Cabinet on Thursday ratified a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan with the first batch of the vaccines expected into the country within the first week of March.
The Cabinet during its first sitting this year, resolved that the first group to be vaccinated will include health care workers and frontline workers among them security personnel and teachers, vulnerable persons and those in working in the hospitality industry.
Also, as part of the country's response to the disease, the Cabinet sanctioned heightened surveillance at all of Kenya's international borders, so as to stem the propagation of the disease into the country.
"The Cabinet noted that the first batch of COVID vaccine will arrive in Kenya the first week of March 2021.In that regard, the Cabinet ratified the distribution framework for the vaccines with first priority given to health care workers, front line workers including those in security and teachers, vulnerable persons and groups and the hospitality sector," a statement from the Cabinet Office read.
The government on Saturday announced that COVID-19 vaccine will be administered free of charge in all public health facilities.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said the Ministry of Health will also come up with a mechanism of regulating the vaccine cost in private health facilities.
Mwangangi said the vaccine will be administered voluntarily with plans to intensify public sensitization.
The government plans to vaccinate 16 million people by end of the year to suppress the virus with vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson.
More than 1 million health care workers and essential providers will be among the first people to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In phase two of the vaccination, which is set to kick off in July and end in June 2022, 9.7 million Kenyans will be vaccinated.
The Ministry of Health said it had recommended the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for clearance by World Health Organization for importation to Kenya.