Additional reporting by Njoki Kihiu in Nairobi].
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said on Sunday that the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the country on Tuesday even as 325 new infections were recorded.
The new cases were detected from a sample size of 3,282 raising the total caseload in the country to 105, 973.
“We are hoping Tuesday or Wednesday morning that the first batch of the vaccine will arrive in the country and after that, the rest will follow. We are expecting 10. 9 million doses as of next week,” Kagwe told journalists in Nyeri.
He said healthcare workers who are on the frontline in the fight against the virus will be the first ones to be vaccinated.
Kagwe further said 2 COVID-19 patients had succumbed to the virus, pushing fatalities to 1,856.
However, 69 patients were discharged after recovering from the virus bringing the total recoveries to 86,678.
The Cabinet on Thursday ratified a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.
The Cabinet during its first sitting this year resolved that the first group to be vaccinated will include health care workers and frontline workers among them security personnel and teachers, vulnerable persons and those in working in the hospitality industry.
Also, as part of the country’s response to the disease, the Cabinet sanctioned heightened surveillance at all of Kenya’s international borders, so as to stem the propagation of the disease into the country.
“The Cabinet noted that the first batch of COVID vaccine will arrive in Kenya the first week of March 2021.In that regard, the Cabinet ratified the distribution framework for the vaccines with first priority given to health care workers, front line workers including those in security and teachers, vulnerable persons and groups and the hospitality sector,” a statement from the Cabinet Office stated.
The Government has assured that the vaccine will be administered free of charge in all public health facilities.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said recently that the Ministry will also come up with a mechanism of regulating the vaccine cost in private health facilities.
“the vaccine will be free in public facilities, there are discussions to ensure there will be a mechanism of regulating cost at the private sector,” said Mwangangi Friday, during a virtual session with medics ahead of the vaccine roll out once it arrives later February.
Mwangangi said the vaccine will be administered voluntarily, with plans to intensify public sensitization.
“As an individual, I will be on the front-line to receive the vaccine, there will be no victimization and the vaccine will be given to those willing,” she said.
The government said about 16 million people will be vaccinated by the end of the year to suppress the virus with vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson.
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.