•United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr Stephen Jackson described the “historic and moving moment” when the first frontline health workers received their vaccinations.
Last Friday, Kenya marked another milestone with the vaccination of the first health workers at Kenya’s largest referral health facility, Kenyatta National Hospital. The vaccine is now available at various referral hospitals countrywide. Just over one million vaccines were procured and distributed by Unicef, as part of the Covax facility.
Acting Health Director-General Patrick Amoth was the first to receive the vaccine. Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Dr Evanson Kamuri followed suit, in an exercise that saw around 110 health workers receive the life-saving vaccine.
United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr Stephen Jackson described the “historic and moving moment” when the first frontline health workers received their vaccinations. “Let me assure all Kenyans that I have absolute confidence in the vaccine's safety and in its urgency, its importance and its necessity,” he said.
Dr Jackson thanked donors including the US, Japan, Saudi Arabia, EU, Canada and UK, plus foundations and companies including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who have supported the COVAX facility.
He quoted a Swahili proverb, “baada ya dhiki, faraja” (after hardship comes relief) to symbolize the relief brought by the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kenya. However, he urged all to continue observing social distancing, wearing our masks, washing and disinfecting hands.
“If we see some light at the end of the tunnel, we are not yet close to being out of it. We must not drop our guard,” Dr Jackson said at the event officiated by the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Susan Mochache.
World Health Organisation country representative Dr Rudi Eggers made an appeal for the vaccine uptake adding that it had had passed the safety test.
“The Astra Zeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, this vaccine has been reviewed and found safe not only by WHO itself, but by several stringent regulatory authorities, including the United States FDA and the European regulatory authority.
"In addition, many millions of these vaccines have now been administered across the world, and no additional safety signals have been received. So, let us be clear, these vaccines are safe!” Dr Eggers said.
Here are some of the other health workers who received the vaccine.