Nairobi — Kenya has received 360,000 doses of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine from Denmark, signalling a major boost in the inoculation exercise that started in February.
The vaccines which were given as a donation were received on Monday night by Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
1,187,663 Kenyans have so far been vaccinated, 995,570 having received the first dose while 192,093 received the second.
With the new batch of vaccines, Mochache asked Kenyans who have already received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to visit various health centres across the country from Wednesday to get their second jab.
"From Wednesday when I am sure the vaccine will have reached most facilities in Kenya we would wish that people should get out and go for their second dose. This vaccine donation that we have received has got a life of about one month and so up to to the end of July the vaccines will be in good condition and can therefore be administered," she said.
Mochache said that the vaccines could not have come at a better time revealing that Kenya's COVID-19 stock had only 5, 000 vaccines remaining.
Kenya kicked off its inoculation exercise in March with 1.02 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that was acquired through the covax facility.
"Had we not received this donation we would basically be having no vaccines in the next few weeks and so really with the vaccines we will be able to roll out the vaccine to the rest of the people who had received their first dose," she said.
While stressing that the ongoing inoculation exercise is critical in the fight against the virus, Mochache asked Kenyans not to lower their guard noting that the threat of the virus is still imminent.
"I urge Kenyans that we should continue to adhere to the protocols. COVID-19 is still with us and is still causing severe sickness among our people and the virus has caused so many deaths in our country. The vaccination is just an intervention which we will fully realize its benefit when we have achieved the harder immunity which is 30 percent of our population," she said.
By June 21, Kenya had recorded 179, 293 COVID-19 cases and 3, 461 deaths.
Kenya launched the second phase of the COVID-19 sensitization campaign Monday, in what officials said will run for a week.
Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said the campaign aims to increase awareness of new developments relating to the COVID-19 disease.
"What it entails is basically vehicles moving around with stickers mounted on them reminding people the importance of obeying the containment measures and also the consequences of not doing so," Oguna said.
Oguna said the campaign will be conducted in all the 47 counties, mainly urban areas that are highly populated.
Last week, the government heightened measures to slow the spread of the virus in the country particularly in thirteen counties of Nyanza and Western regions.
Kagwe said the counties of Busia, Vihiga, Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Kericho, Bomet, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, Kisumu, Siaya, Homa-Bay and Migori accounted for 60 per cent of the national virus caseload in two weeks, hence the decision to declare them hotspot zones.
He announced a ban on all forms of gatherings and in-person meetings in the hotspot zone, including house parties and sporting activities.
The ban also applies to all forms of physical/congregational worship (churches, mosques, temples and shrines) in the hotspot counties for a period of 30 days.