DOSES TO ARRIVE NEXT WEEK

Garissa vaccine depot to get specialised freezer for Pfizer storage

Ministry says the region will have a specialised freezer due to harsh climatic conditions

In Summary

• Kenya expects the first batch of 2.03 million doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US government to arrive in the country next week. 

• Counties have been asked to identify healthcare facilities that will be designated to stock Pfizer vaccines

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe receives 12 freezers from the government of Japan at Afya House on September 7, 2021
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe receives 12 freezers from the government of Japan at Afya House on September 7, 2021
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The Garissa regional vaccines depot will receive a specialised deep freezer for the storage of Pfizer due to the extreme temperatures in the region.

Kenya expects the first batch of 2.03 million doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US government to arrive in the country next week. 

Unlike AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Moderna, Pfizer requires ultra-cold chain storage of -70 degrees centigrade.

The government on Tuesday received 12 freezers with a storage capacity of three million doses from Japan.

However, the Health ministry has disclosed that the Garissa regional depot will have a specialised freezer due to the harsh climatic conditions.

“I am glad to note that Unicef is supporting the delivery of a specialised deep freezer suitable for Garissa,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced on Tuesday.

“We hope to receive this very soon as well to serve the interests of the Northeastern part of the country.”

Of the 12 freezers received, three will be placed at the central vaccines store in Kitengela. The rest will be distributed to eight regional stores in Nairobi, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri, Meru and Kakamega.

The Eldoret depot serves Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot.

The one in Nakuru serves Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru, Nyandarua and Samburu counties.

 Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega and Vihiga counties are served by the one in Kakamega.

The Garissa depot serves Garissa, while the one in Nyeri serves Embu, Kirinyaga, Laikipia and Nyeri.

Kisumu region depot serves Homa Bay, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira and Siaya counties.

Meru depot serves Isiolo, Marsabit, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties.

The one in Nairobi serves Kajiado, Kiambu, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, murang’a, Nairobi and Narok counties.

Mombasa depot serves Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa, Taita Taveta and Tana River counties.

Counties have been asked to identify healthcare facilities that will be designated to stock Pfizer vaccines.

Only facilities with the capacity to administer at least 100 doses per day consistently will be designated.

During transportation to regional stores, the vaccines will require -70 degrees. Transportation will be done using specialised insulated devices known as softboxes, which maintain the ultra-cold chain temperature using dry ice.

“Once the vaccine is moved from the deep freezers, it has to be used within 28 days. Our recommendation is to distribute them to facilities that can vaccinate 100 consistently per day. We will not put Pfizer in facilities that don’t have a high volume,” vaccines deployment taskforce chairperson Dr Willis Akhwale said.

“There will be very close monitoring to ensure those doses are used before the 28 days so that basically means 2,000 or 3,000 people have to be vaccinated within a month in facilities that stock Pfizer.”

Already, healthcare workers have been trained in the handling of the vaccines, with the government also receiving 15 softboxes from the US UPS Foundation.

Edited by A.N