COMING BY SHIP

Lack of specialised syringes delays rollout of Pfizer jab

Specialised syringes to arrive next week, from the United States

In Summary

• Kenya plans to vaccinate at least 10 million people by December and the entire adult population of 27 million by end of next year.

• As at Wednesday, 876,015 people had been fully vaccinated, representing 3.2 per cent of the targeted adult population

Health DG Patrick Amoth shares a light moment with other guests during the launch of three documents that will aid counties on Public Emergency Operations centre at a Nairobi Hotel on September 24.
COMING BY SHIP: Health DG Patrick Amoth shares a light moment with other guests during the launch of three documents that will aid counties on Public Emergency Operations centre at a Nairobi Hotel on September 24.
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Kenya is yet to roll out the Pfizer vaccine despite the first batch arriving last week.

The Health ministry has associated the delay to unavailability of specialised syringes, used in administering the vaccine.

The specialised Pfizer syringes are expected in the country later next week, from the United States.

Training of regional depot managers and healthcare workers on vaccine handling procedures has however been completed.

The training is part of the mechanisms put in place by the ministry to ensure that there is no wastage of vaccines.

“You know syringes are bulky so they come by ship but vaccines because they are very fragile they come by air, so they will be arriving next week,” Health DG Patrick Amoth said.

Kenya last Friday received a consignment of 795,600 doses donated by the US.

This is part of the 2.03 million doses donations by the US government as part of efforts to boost Covid-19 vaccination in the country.

Kenya plans to vaccinate at least 10 million people by December and the entire adult population of 27 million by end of next year.

As at Wednesday, 876,015 people had been fully vaccinated, representing 3.2 per cent of the targeted adult population.

Out of these, 140,358 are healthcare workers, 128,129 teachers 73,788 security officers, 250,226 people aged above 58 and 283,514 members of the public.

Kenya has so far received four approved types of jabs, including AstraZeneca, Moderna and the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

The ministry however says it will give priority to the mobile populations in the issuance of Johnson and Johnson. This will help reduce the number of people not showing up for the second dose, as has been the case with AstraZeneca.

“We should not be fixated on JJ. What is important is that all vaccines have undergone a very robust process in terms of efficacy, safety and effectiveness.

"All of them protect you from severe Covid-19 disease, they protect you from hospitalisation and death,” Amoth said.

The ministry now banks on use of outreaches and information dissemination to be able to reach more people. 

The efforts aim to reach the targets, amid concerns that some Kenyans cannot tell the difference between vaccines and other medicines.

“Some Kenyans can’t differentiate, they think you have to wait until you get sick, so that you come out and get the vaccine,” Deployment taskforce chair Willis Akhwale said.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)