Kenya Receives 1M Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine
By: Sumaya Hussein
Kenya received the first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines on Tuesday night at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.
The 1.02 million doses of the vaccine were transported by UNICEF as part of the COVAX initiative which aims to provide equitable access to the vaccines to low-income countries.
The vaccines arrived on a Qatar Airways flight which was met at JKIA by senior government officials including the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and representatives of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“This is a historic day for Kenya, marking an important milestone in our fight against COVID-19,” said CS Kagwe, “I would like to thank UNICEF, WHO and GAVI for their support in procuring and transporting these life-saving vaccines and the Kenyan people for their cooperation over the past 11.5 months.”
CS Kagwe further added that the vaccines will be moved to stores in Athi River for onward distribution to counties and public hospitals ahead of vaccination.
Priority will be given to the 400,000 health workers before others in the frontline like teachers, police and people with underlying conditions are vaccinated.
Kenya had ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, enough for 20 per cent of the country’s population. The Gavi Alliance however said that it will supply a few doses first, to cover frontline workers and vulnerable people.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses that will be given four weeks apart, to prompt the immune system into fighting off the coronavirus. The combination of the two does is said to give a 62% efficacy.
The first consignment of a million doses is part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.56 million doses.
Kenya hopes to vaccinate about 16 million people by end of the year and suppress the virus with vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson.