Kenya: We Expect Covid-19 Vaccines Next Week, Ministry of Health Tells Kenyans

26 February 2021

The Ministry of Health has said a consignment of Covid-19 vaccines will land in the country next week.

Just a day after Ghana became the first African country receive 600,000 doses of vaccines from the Covax initiative, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi, yesterday said Covid-19 frontline workers would be the first to be vaccinated.

"It is just a matter of time before Kenya gets the vaccines. The delivery in Ghana a clear indication that the Covax facility has started distributing the drugs. Our consignment is on the way," Dr Mwangangi said.

Government officials have in the past given dates that pass without the delivery of the vaccine.

On December 17, the government said 24 million doses of the vaccine doses were expected in Kenya in January, with the first beneficiaries being groups at high risk of contracting the deadly virus.

Health workers, police officers, the elderly and teachers were to be the first to receive the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine to be made available in the first quarter of 2021, the government said.

On December 30, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the AstraZeneca vaccine, currently on trial in the country, would be ready for use by April this year.

Yet scientists had earlier reported that the earliest the vaccines would be ready would be 2022.

The January deadline was pushed to the second week of February, with Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe telling the country that the ministry had procured 24 million doses of coronavirus vaccines.

The announcement was made on January 7.

In addition to the ordered vaccines, Mr Kagwe said the government also expect to procure more through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr Mwangangi, said the vaccines are taking long to arrive in Kenya because of supply chain problems.

In partnership with the World Health Organization, the Covax facility hopes to deliver more than two billion doses to people in 190 countries in less than a year.

Covax is a global procuring and distributing Covid-19 vaccines for free to the poor. It was launched in April 2020.

Most African countries rely on Covax, which is also relying on manufacturers for supply.

The scheme also involves the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The Cabinet said the first batch of the vaccines would arrive in the first week of March. It ratified the distribution, with priority being given to health care workers, security personnel, teachers, vulnerable persons and hospitality industry employees.

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