The delay of the second dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine is causing concern as the first stock dwindles.
According to WHO, Kenya has used up 87 % of its AstraZeneca vaccine it got in March. The body said that delays in vaccine supplies risked opening the door to new infections in Africa as new stronger variants continue to emerge.
Worst-case scenario worries
The delay has led to concerns about the worst-case scenario unfolding in Kenya and other countries across Africa.
Rudi Eggers, WHO Representative in Kenya, told CNN that the situation where Kenya is set to run out of the vaccine in the coming days was ‘worrying.’
“It worries me,” Eggers said, “and very clearly, the second doses are not coming in time. What this means is that everybody who has been vaccinated until now will not get their second dose as planned.”
Dr. Willis Akhwale, head of Kenya’s vaccine task force, said that the situation could be worse than reported. Akhwale said that they hope deliveries would open in June, but India’s struggle with its dangerous wave means that even that is too optimistic.
“This is not a good situation,” Akhwale said, “It (vaccination process) started slowly but accelerated well. Now the demand for the vaccine is here, and if we don’t get adequate doses, it is going to impact our plan.”
Millions remain at risk
Already, frontline workers – health workers, teachers and security guards, and people over 60, line the halls of hospitals, waiting for their first shot of the vaccine. Despite the efficiency in giving the vaccine in Kenya – over 900,000 doses given, the delay could thwart the efforts.
However, even then, a more significant problem remains. Despite the efforts by the government, millions remain at risk. Across the continent, it’s hundreds of millions. COVAX, the vaccine-sharing initiative, has faced logistical problems, with supply into the facility facing hurdles.
COVAX has supplied tens of millions of vaccines for free to lower-income countries, but that is way below their target, leaving many vulnerable.