Nairobi — Kenya is set to receive 1.76 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the United States government.
Chairman of the COVID-19 vaccine Deployment Taskforce Willis Akhwale confirmed Wednesday that talks with the United States administration are at an advanced stage for the delivery of the doses.
"So, we are moving from the period when we have been experiencing scarcity to when we should have adequate doses," he said during an interview on KTN News.
US President Joe Biden had in June committed to donating the Pfizer vaccine to countries which are experiencing shortages in a bid to resolve the inequalities that have been witnessed in the distribution of vaccines globally.
"The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing the distribution list for 55 million of the 80 million doses of America's own vaccine supply President Biden has pledged to allocate by the end of June in service of ending the pandemic globally," it said in a statement that went on to explain that "approximately 14 million - or 25% of these 55 million vaccines - will be shared with regional priorities and other recipients, such as: Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, other CARICOM countries, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, and Bosnia."
Akhwale noted that the arrival of the Pfizer doses would be pivotal in the ongoing vaccination exercise in the country.
"I think this is important so that all the countries around the globe can be at the same level in term of vaccination coverage," he said.
He pointed out that another 271,000 doses of Pfizer will be delivered through the COVAX facility as the country seeks to address the vaccine shortage.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had in June announced an ambitious plan to vaccinate 10 million people by December 2021 and 26 million by the end of 2022.
He also revealed that the government had ordered 13 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by August this year.
Dr. Akhwale said the Ministry of Health is working on a clear National Vaccine Deployment Plan.
"Our strategy was to vaccinate 10 million adults by June 2022 and approximately 16 million by June 2023. 18. But inspired by our 'Acceleration Doctrine', which is about constantly increasing the speed of achieving our goals, we revised our Vaccine Deployment Plan," he said.
Instead of vaccinating 10 million adults by June 2022, he said, "we will vaccinate the entire adult population of 26 million Kenyans by 2022."
Experts have advised that with the accelerated vaccination, Kenya will have built a capacity to vaccinate 150,000 people every day from August 2021.
As of July, 13 Kenya had vaccinated 1, 550, 389 Kenyans.
But even as the country is set to receive the COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Word Health Organization (WHO) has warned against mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccines by different manufacturers for the first and second doses.
WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan on Monday said that there was a lack of data about the impact of the process and called it a "dangerous trend".
Most vaccines currently in use, including those of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, University of Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech as well as the Russian Sputnik V, are all required to be administered in two doses with the prescribed intervals between the shots differing for each vaccine.
Sputnik V also has a single-dose vaccine named Sputnik V Lite and the jab by Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine too.