3.04 FULLY VACCINATED

Kenya to expand vaccine cold chain capacity at Sh900 million

This comes as the country gears up to receive the first consignment of Pfizer vaccines.

In Summary

•This will be done with the support of the World Bank at a cost of Sh900 million.

•Areas of focus will include establishing 25 new county vaccine stores

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe receives 12 ultra-cold chain freezers with a storage capacity of three million doses from the government of Japan and 15 soft boxes from the US UPS Foundation at Afya House on September 7 2021
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe receives 12 ultra-cold chain freezers with a storage capacity of three million doses from the government of Japan and 15 soft boxes from the US UPS Foundation at Afya House on September 7 2021
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The Health ministry is in the process of expanding the country’s cold chain facilities to support the Covid-19 vaccines deployment.

This will be done with the support of the World Bank at a cost of Sh900 million.

Areas of focus will include establishing 25 new county vaccine stores, improving technical capacity in the 36 subcounty stores and expanding of storage capacity in at least 1,177 facilities across the country.

“These efforts will ensure we do not interrupt our childhood immunisation programme, even as we scale up our Covid-19 vaccination programme,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said.

“We have now revised our deployment plan with an aim of accelerating the programme so that we reach the targets. The revised plan provides clear guidance to counties in terms of expanding vaccination posts and conducting outreaches,” he added.

This comes as the country gears up to receive the first consignment of Pfizer vaccines.

The US government donated 2.03 million doses of Pfizer. Should the first batch arrive, it will make the vaccine the fourth type to be rolled out in Kenya alongside AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.

On Monday, the ministry received an additional 210,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the government of Poland.

As at Saturday, 3.09 million vaccines had been administered across the country, with at least 827,000 people having been fully vaccinated. This represents the proportion of the adult population fully vaccinated at 3.04 per cent.

At least 136,906 healthcare workers have received their two doses, 125,185 teachers, 70,036 security officers, 251,342 those aged 58 years and above and 244,495 members of the public.

Pfizer requires ultra-cold chain temperature storage of -70 degrees. The government has since received 12 ultra-cold chain freezers from the government of Japan and 15 soft boxes from the UPS Foundation as part of the deployment preparations.

The national vaccines store in Kitengela has a total of eight cold rooms with capacity to store 130,000 litres of vaccines at two to eight degrees Celsius and two freezers that can store 14,400 litres of vaccines at -20 degrees Celsius.

The store has the capacity to store more than six months of vaccine stock in many cold and freezer rooms.

Every year, the facility handles vaccines worth more than Sh6 billion.

These include childhood vaccines for tuberculosis, polio, pentavalent, rotavirus, pneumococcal, measles and rubella.

“The quality and success of our vaccination programme depends on the integrity of the cold chain. The capacity is sufficient for deployment of vaccines requiring the +2 degrees/-20 degrees of cold storage with a quarterly vaccine delivery schedule to the national and regional vaccine stores,” Kagwe said.

“We must however recognize that about 15 million doses of childhood immunisation also depends on this infrastructure and hence the need to expand it.”

Kenya plans to vaccinate at least 10 million people by December and 26 million by end of 2022.

Edited by EKibii