Kenya’s Health Ministry has said that it expects to receive a consignment of the COVID-19 vaccine from next month.
The country will receive the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be in the country in the first quarter of 2021. This vaccine is far cheaper and easier to store than Pfizer, Moderna, and Sputnik V.
Kagwe told Nation that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine would easily remain fresh in standard fridges, which most Kenyan health facilities have. The others need ultra-low temperatures for proper storage as well as during distribution.
This vaccine’s first beneficiaries will be people at a higher risk of contracting and suffering severe COVID-19 infections. They include health care workers, the elderly, teachers, and the police, the government said.
The Ministry added that the people who come into contact with crowds and people with two or more underlying health conditions would also be vaccinated.
According to Mutahi Kagwe, the country will receive 24 million doses, covering about 20 per cent of the population. The vaccine is taken in two doses, and each dose is taken within 28 days for complete immunity. Furthermore, Kagwe said that they were also exploring other ways to partner with Chinese organizations that have developed COVID-19 vaccines.
Hopes for a better 2021
Dr Patrick Amoth, Health Director-General, said they had submitted a proposal to WHO’s Covax program by December 3. Covax program is to ensure that even low-income countries access the vaccine. He said the first 24 million doses would be from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (Gavi). It would be free. They had also set aside a further Ksh 10 billion to cover a further 10 per cent of Kenya’s population.
Stories of the COVID-19 vaccine provide an upbeat ending to a year that many have written down as the worst in humanity’s history. For many, they are hopeful of a better 2021, especially with the COVID-19 vaccine likely to be available to the public..