Kenya orders 24M doses of COVID-19 Vaccine
By: Sumaya Hussein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thumbnail photo courtesy of reuters
Kenya has joined other countries in securing Covid-19 vaccines and has ordered 24 million doses from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. This is enough to cover 20% of the country’s population.
Acting director-general of health, Dr Patrick Amoth said that each dose will be about $3 (Sh320) and cost the country a total of Sh10 billion.
The amount is already heavily discounted by Gavi through donations from several developed countries, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. “The first to be vaccinated will be frontline workers, then the vulnerable and the elderly,” said Amoth. He, however, did not specify a timeframe but vaccines are expected early next year.
Amoth said that Gavi has signed agreements with manufacturers of about nine vaccine candidates. Kenya therefore did not dictate which vaccine to receive, but the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be ideal for the country because it fits within its cold chain supply system.
Kenya also launched clinical trials for the AstraZeneca vaccine in Kilifi in October. An emergency use approval is yet to be granted by the Health Ministry.
“Once they get approval from the European Medicines Agency and in the UK, then we will also consider granting such authorization in Kenya,” said Amoth.
The announcement means Kenya has applied for the largest number of doses in East Africa.
Last week on Thursday, Uganda’s Health Ministry, said it ordered 9 million doses to cover 20% of the country’s population.
“Plans are underway to secure additional doses of the vaccine to cover more people,” said the Ugandan Ministry in a statement.
Rwanda’s Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije on Sunday also announced they had applied for either the AstraZeneca or the Moderna vaccine. He, however, did not say how many doses they had applied for but hoped they would be the among the first African countries to receive them.
Egypt applied for 20 million doses from Gavi and expected to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Gavi is supplying Covid-19 vaccines to 92 developing countries including Kenya through a facility called Covax. Covax was created by Gavi, UNICEF and the WHO to deliver two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2021. The facility says it has already secured millions of ready-made doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate, ready for distribution to the 92 developing countries.
Experts say although there won’t be enough vaccines for every Kenyan, getting the shots to the right people could help tame the pandemic.