Kenya has joined other countries in the rush to secure the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the acting Director General in the Health Ministry Dr. Patrick Amoth, Kenya will receive from the COVAX facility 24 million doses of the vaccine.

This particular consignment is free but the country has also ordered an additional 12 million doses of the vaccines at a cost of Ksh.10 billion.

The Ministry of Health submitted its request for the vaccines on December 7.

“We are hopeful that by next year we will have a vaccine .We can’t get vaccines for everybody. We have to give priority to those who are important,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said.

COVAX was created by GAVI, UNICEF and the World Health Organization to deliver two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for millions of people across Africa; Asia; the Caribbean and Pacific; and in Europe’s eastern and southern neighbourhoods 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 including Kenya.

At least percent 30 percent of the Kenyan population will receive the COVID-19 jab at the beginning of next year.

The first 24 million doses supplied by COVAX will cover 20 percent of the population as required by the WHO programme.

The additional 12 million purchased by the government will cover 10 percent of the population.

The first to be vaccinated will be frontline health workers, followed by the vulnerable and the elderly and priority service givers.

Kenya would prefer doses from the Oxford/Astrazeneca although COVAX has a number of other candidates.

“We are open to other vaccines such as the Chinese Sinopharm, Russia’s Sputnik V, Pfizer-/Biontech’s and Moderna’s based on safety, immunogenicity and efficacy levels,” Dr Amoth said.

But what is Kenya considering before a vaccine is purchased?

“We consider a lot of things before we give this vaccine to people. Efficacy is key,” CS Kagwe said.

The vaccine must first be a vector carrier based vaccine, be prequalified by WHO ensuring that it can be stored in a cold chain, 2-8 degrees and the cost factor.

One dose is estimated to cost between $5 to 6 (Ksh. 558 to 669).

But even with this being a milestone, Dr. Amoth further said: “This is definitely a step forward in the fight against COVID-19. The vaccine is not a silver bullet because we cannot cover the entire population. We urge the remaining 70 percent of the population to observe COVID-19 guidelines.”

CS Kagwe added: “The silver bullet is actually ourselves.we are the ones who can ensure that we do not get COVID-19.”

“To keep safe even with the COVID-19 vaccine being administered, it is important to avoid crowded places, close contacts, wash hands and properly wear your mask and most importantly avoid unnecessary travel.”

Sourced from Citizen Digital