Kenyans Face Uncertain Wait for Second Astrazeneca Doses as India Demand Surges

Nairobi — The Ministry of Health on Wednesday said it anticipated a delay in the delivery the second consignment of the AstraZeneca vaccine, meaning the over 750,000 Kenyans who had received the first dose will have to wait longer for their second doses.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe cited the global supply of the vaccine as the main challenge, given the situation in India where COVID infections and deaths are reported to be spiraling.

The vaccines were expected to be availed by end of May, but with recent unfolding it remains unclear when the vaccines will arrive.

"Given what what's happening in India where they are reporting over 200,000 COVID cases per day we think there will be a delay, it will be difficult for the Indian government to release the quantity of vaccines required for the African countries under the COVAX facility," Kagwe said after receiving a donation of Personal Protective Equipment from MultiChoice Africa.

CS Kagwe said the Ministry intends to acquire different vaccines to back up what is available, including one million doses of Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

This, he said, is to ensure that the vaccination program in the country continues.

Kagwe also defended the move to have the first batch of the 1.2 million vaccines all utilized in administering the first dose, as opposed to offering the vaccine fewer people so as to guarantee the second dose.

"It is better to vaccinate as many people with the first dose than to hold half of the doses so as to vaccinate the first ones you started with. The more people you vaccinate even with one dose is better because they get some sort of immunity," he said.

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