NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – The Ministry of Health now says it has recommended AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for clearance by World Health Organization (WHO) for importation to Kenya.
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.
The government said it will target mostly people aged above 50 years and those above 18 years but who have underlying conditions.
On Friday, Kenya recorded 260 coronavirus cases raising the total caseload to 102,613.
Health Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said 83 more patients had recovered from the disease bring the total recoveries to 84,873 while the fatalities remained at 1794 as no death was registered.
She urged Kenyans not to lower their guard despite the low cases being recorded adding that the virus is still active.
“We have noticed that there is laxity when it comes to adhering to the COVID-19 regulations, we see people crowding in public vehicles and others not wearing masks and that is why we are collaborating with Ministry of Interior to en sure more enforcement of the protocols because the disease is still around,” she said.