State should provide vaccine liability waiver

In Summary

• Long queues at public hospitals show there is a pent-up demand for the Covid vaccine

• Local companies cannot afford to provide the $20 million liability waiver demanded by the manufacturer

Covid-19 vaccine.
VACCINE: Covid-19 vaccine.
Image: FILE

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has reacted angrily to reports of hospitals vaccinating members of the public who are not frontline health workers. Occasionally hospital staff received under the table payments.

The rollout of vaccinations is proceeding very slowly, partly because of disinformation about the AstraZeneca vaccine. Only around 30,000 health workers have been vaccinated so far yet a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were imported at the beginning of the month. 

However the long queues at Mbagathi, Kenyatta and Mama Lucy hospitals show there is a pent-up demand for the vaccine and even that people are willing to pay.

Local pharmaceutical companies would be willing to import the AstraZeneca vaccine privately and sell it to those who can afford it. But the manufacturer demands a $20 million liability waiver which they cannot afford.

The government should consider providing this waiver on behalf of local private companies. It costs nothing unless serious complications are proven in court to be the result of vaccination.

Then there would be no shortage of the Covid vaccine for those who could afford it and government could concentrate on providing the subsidised Covax doses to government workers and needy Kenyans.

Quote of the day: "I'm glad I'm still in motion. I don't think of my past achievements."

Manu Dibango
The Cameroonian musician died on March 24, 2020