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AstraZeneca's jab has been in the spotlight after a number of European countries refused to authorise it for the over-65s -- the demographic most vulnerable to Covid-19

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75 new COVID-19 cases in Kenya raising caseload to 102,867

Nairobi, Kenya Feb 14 – Kenya recorded 75 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday raising the country’s caseload to 102, 867.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the new infections were detected from 3, 025 which were tested from Saturday.

Nairobi County produced the majority of the new infections after posting 51 cases followed by Kiambu which had 6.

Kagwe said that 37 patients who were under the home-based care programme were cleared of the virus while 19 were discharged from various hospitals countrywide bringing the total number of recoveries to 85, 008.

The number of virus-related fatalities stood at 1, 795 with no death reported Sunday.

Although the number of COVID-19 cases have significantly reduced, Kenya is still enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew which is aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has however hinted that he is likely to lift the curfew if Kenyans behave.

The Ministry of Health last week said it had recommended AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for clearance by World Health Organization (WHO) for importation by the end of this month.

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Willis Akwale, Chairperson of the Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment and Vaccination, said the country will only bring in vaccines that have stringent authorization.

“A decision has been made that we would have to bring into this country vaccines that have stringent regulatory authorization like World Health Organization and until just the other day, it was only Pfizer and Moderna that had received emergency use authorization by WHO but this week a recommendation for the AstraZeneca vaccine to receive the same has been made,” Akwale said.

“So there is no way we could have imported without that under the Covax Facility.”

He further announced that any vaccine that will be used in the country must have registration by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).

“I am happy to report that in the last two weeks the manufacturers of various vaccines have submitted their dossier to the pharmacy board and we expect that in the coming week we could see based on how the dossier will be evaluated the registration of the vaccine by the pharmacy board for use in Kenya,” Akwale said.

Akwale further revealed that the government has already allocated Sh930 million for the procurement of the vaccines.

The government is targeting to vaccinate 16 million people by end of the year to suppress the virus with vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson.

Of the 16 million, more than 1 million health care workers and essential providers will be among the first people to be vaccinated against COVID- later this month when the vaccines arrive in the country.

In phase two of the vaccination, which is set to kick off in July and end in June 2022, 9.7 million Kenyans will be vaccinated.

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The government said it will target mostly people aged above 50 years and those above 18 years but who have underlying conditions.

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