The government has ordered a consignment of 24 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is to arrive in Kenya in January 2021. The first beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health, are groups at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.
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The government plans to give priority to health workers, teachers, police, and the elderly as the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine becomes available early next year.
Also to be vaccinated against the virus are people with two or more underlying conditions and those who come into contact with crowds. The vaccine candidates will receive two jabs of the vaccines, a month apart for best effects.
According to Dr. Amoth, the 24 million doses, which are an initiative of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) will be given for free. He further said that the government has set aside another 10 billion Kenya shillings to cover an additional 10 percent of the Kenyan population.
Kenya Vaccination Readiness
The CS Kagwe said that the ministry is training health workers and the team that will distribute the vaccines once they land in Kenya.
A team has been formed to work on logistics and training of staff who will handle the vaccines. We are lucky to be involved in several vaccine programmes.
Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi intimated that 49 million people will get two doses per individual at first. 1.2 million health workers will be vaccinated and some 5.2 million elderly people and 1.4 million people with medical conditions.
Dr. Mwangangi further pointed out that the vaccination will utilize existing mechanisms including being offered at hospitals by qualified clinicians, and supplemented with targeted outreach at the community level.
Why AstraZeneca Vaccine is Preffered
AstraZeneca is part of Covax, a global programme that seeks to procure covid-19 vaccines for people living in 91 poor and middle-income countries. Covax aims to deliver at least 2 billion vaccines to vaccinate 20% of vulnerable people in these countries by the end of 2021.
Covax is also in agreement with Novavax and France’s Sanofi to supply over 400 millions of doses under this programme. Under the Covax initiative, there will be an equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines which would otherwise be overbought by rich nations.
AstraZeneca has gone through thorough research and trials and found to be over 70% effective, unlike the Chinese and Russian vaccines which went straight to early approvals before completing efficacy and safety trials.
The Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine can be kept at normal refrigeration temperatures hence ideal for African countries which already have cold chain vaccine units available.
Pfizer vaccine costs about Ksh. 4,000 per dose and must be stored at temperatures less than -70 degrees celsius, not possible for most countries. Moderna on the other hand will go for between Ksh. 5,000 to 7,500 and has to be kept at -20 degrees celsius.
AstraZeneca’s jab will cost about Ksh. 700 and can be stored at temperatures between 2 to 8 degrees celsius.
Both Moderna and Pfizer use expensive mRNA technology and are 95% effective against Covid-19.
Kenya will be among lucky third-world countries in the world to receive first doses of Covid-19 vaccine even as wealthy nations scramble to secure massive number of doses for their citizens for any vaccine that proves effective.
But scientists worldwide are in agreement that poor and rich countries should receive doses at roughly the same time for the best outcome globally.
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