RELYING ON J&J

Kenya on course to hit 10 million vaccination target by December

The first J&J vaccines arrived last week; Kenya expects to receive 13 million doses

In Summary

• The donation on Monday will push the total doses received in Kenya since March to about five million.

• CAS Mwangangi noted the J&J vaccine would be the key driver to hitting the 10 million target.

A police officer gets vaccinated in Thika Stadium recently.
MASS VACCINATION DRIVE: A police officer gets vaccinated in Thika Stadium recently.
Image: file

The government appears on course to beat its deadline of vaccinating 10 million Kenyans against Covid-19 by December this year.

Authorities are mainly relying on shipments of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to hit the target.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said they expect to receive about one million doses of the jab every month.

The first shipment of 141,600 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) arrived in Kenya on Friday night.

“The single dose administration will ensure that this population will be fully vaccinated quickly. The Ministry of Health will therefore prioritise the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine towards the primary healthcare level,” Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi said.

CS Kagwe is on Monday expected to receive 880,000 doses of Moderna vaccine from the US government.

The donation will push the total doses received in Kenya since March to about five million.

However, most of them have been the two-dose varieties.

By Friday last week, the proportion of adults fully vaccinated was 2.98 per cent. The ministry said 2,854,662 doses had been administered. Out of this, 2,043,504 being the first dose and 811,158 the second dose.

The ministry said the country is expecting another 4.16 million doses of an assortment of vaccines over the next few weeks.

CAS Mwangangi said the J&J vaccine would be the key driver to hitting the 10 million target.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is easily stored between two and eight degrees centigrade during administration, and can also be frozen at -20 degrees to ensure there is lengthening of shelf-life. This vaccine therefore requires less logistics and operational cost,” she said.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has authorised the use of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Sinopharm and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The government plans to vaccinate 10 million people by the end of December and 26 million by the end of 2022.

The first jab was given on March 5 this year, while the second jab began on May 28.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly all African countries will miss their initial target of vaccinating the most vulnerable population by the end of September.

Forty-two of Africa’s 54 nations – nearly 80 per cent – are set to miss the target.

Nine African countries, including South Africa, Morocco and Tunisia, have already reached the global target set in May by the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy-setting body.

“With less than a month to go, this looming goal must concentrate minds in Africa and globally. Vaccine hoarding has held Africa back and we urgently need more vaccines, but as more doses arrive, African countries must zero in and drive forward precise plans to rapidly vaccinate the millions of people that still face a grave threat from Covid-19,” WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said.

Edited by A.N