• The Pfizer vaccines are expected to arrive in the country in June if the plans materialize
• Kenya has changed the vaccination schedule amid vaccine global supply chain challenges.
The government has begun identifying hospitals in different counties to be used to administer Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
Plans are in place to procure 7 million doses of the Pfizer and another 10 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses through the African Union platform. The doses would vaccinate 13.5 million Kenyans.
The Pfizer vaccines are expected to arrive in June according to the schedule by the ministry, with the Johnson and Johnson expected in August.
This will be in addition to the 20 million expected from the Covax facility.
Another 11 million doses will be acquired through Covax to ensure the entire Kenyan adult population is fully vaccinated by the end of June 2022.
“We are in plans to do a multiple deployment once we get our Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson so we will have a big campaign to ensure that we are able to deploy these three vaccines simultaneously so that as the vaccines come in they are utilised as soon as possible,” vaccines deployment task force chairperson Willis Akhwale said.
By Saturday, 884,858 Kenyans had been vaccinated against Covid-19. Of these, 157,967 are healthcare workers, 137,348 are teachers, 74,272 are security officers while 515,288 are members of the public including people aged above 58 years.
The government has expressed hope that the second consignment of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available this month after the Covax facility procured some doses outside India for distribution to countries.
India has placed export restrictions on the vaccines, with reports indicating some vaccination centres in the country have run out of stock as the country battles a deadlier second wave.
“The obvious challenge is the issue of the second dose but we have continued to engage Covax. Every two days we call them and they have continued to assure us that they already have some doses from outside India,” Akhwale said.
“The important thing is the shifting of the second dose to 12 weeks. There is absolutely no harm in moving the dose from eight to 12 weeks. For us, we are planning to do that with the assurance that Covax now has some doses to distribute to countries through May.”
Kenya has already changed the vaccination schedule amid vaccine global supply chain challenges. Those who were scheduled to get their second dose early this month are advised to do so from next month.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said Covax informed Kenya of the delay in the shipment of 2.5 million doses to May 2020.
“The ministry is in constant touch with the Covax and they have informed the ministry that the shipment to Kenya should be received during the month of May,” Kagwe said.
(edited by o. owino)