Kenya received the first batch of Astra Zeneca Vaccine, a milestone promise for a better tomorrow following an otherwise difficult year in dealing with the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1.02 million doses of the Astra Zeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, on Wednesday March 3, 2021 as part of the COVAX facility. This global initiative is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and made available to the COVAX facility thanks to an advance purchase agreement between Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and SII. The consignment of 1.02 million doses is part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.56 million doses. The vaccines were procured and transported by UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen. In addition, COVAX is providing 1,025,000 syringes and 10,250 safety boxes to the country via a global stockpile funded and supported by Gavi. Kenya, however, already has enough in-country stocks of syringes and safety boxes for the first phase of vaccinations.
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Kenya’s Ministry of Health has already launched its campaign and kicked off its deployment plan for the vaccines which are prioritized for frontline health workers and essential staff including security personnel. Vaccinations exercise is ongoing countrywide. Already 167,000 Kenyans have been injected with the jab.
The national Covid-19 vaccination programme took a different turn last evening with Deputy President William Ruto going for Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine whose use and distribution the government had cautioned against. Currently the dose is worth sh. 20,000. Kenyans are surprised by this gesture especially those who have been seeing the Deputy President as a fellow “Hustler”.
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During a press briefing, Dr. Mwangangi had announced that the vaccine’s private distributor was forbidden from marketing the vaccine which is yet to be pre-qualified by the WHO.This was despite the PBB announcing that it had granted a private pharmacy, the Emergency Use Authorization for the sale of the vaccine in Kenya. The Russian Embassy had also distanced itself from the vaccines, asking any concerned parties to direct questions and concerns to its distributors in the country.
On the other hand, Governor Mutua hit at the Deputy President terming him as a pretender. “I was surprised the Deputy President “amepata vaccine ya wadosi, siyo ya wanainchi wa kawaida” yet he talks of hustler nation who cannot all afford Ksh. 20,000 for a vaccine. What message is he sending to people? How many wheelbarrows are those from that single dose? Shame on Dp Ruto.” Governor Mutua said on Citizen TV morning program.