NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 31 – Deputy President William Ruto has been vaccinated against COVID-19 but not with the Astrazeneca jab imported by the government.
Ruto said Tuesday he had been vaccinated and even tweeted a photo of him and his wife Rachael getting the jab. He did not, however, state which vaccine he got.
But a closer look at the photo revealed that he was vaccinated by the same medical officer seen in photos shared earlier by lawyers Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Donald Kipkorir who announced that they were the first Kenyans to get the Sputnik V vaccine.
The duo tweeted their photos, moments after getting the jab said to be for the rich due to its high cost, Sh11,000 for two dosses.
The Russian-made vaccine was approved by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) for emergency use but is yet to get approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Ministry of Health Acting Director-General of Health Patrick Amoth, however, confirmed that it is possible for the vaccine to be used without approval by the WHO since it had passed other stringent tests.
Sputnik V which has an efficacy level of about 92 percent, is the first such private consignment in Kenya that is being administered through a private pharmacy.
For maximum protection, it requires two doses sold at Sh5, 500 a dose which will be administered 21 days apart.
“Yes, the application for Emergency Use Authorization has been evaluated and approved,” the board said in a statement, that warned, “Note: this is not a registration.”
The Pharmacy and Poisons Board clarified that its role in the authorization and safety monitoring of medicines and health technologies saying “It’s the duty of the Ministry of Health as guided by the National Vaccine and immunization programme to determine what vaccine (s) to buy based on factors, such as, cost and cold chain considerations.”
President Vladimir Putin already received his first dose of the jab, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said as Russia looks to boost a vaccination campaign that is faltering despite having produced three home-grown jabs.
Kenya has also approved Astra Zeneca vaccine which has been prioritized to health workers, teachers, security officers, and elderly Kenyans.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Kenya will inoculate its citizens using AstraZeneca vaccine which has been questioned by experts leading to suspension by several countries in Europe. South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his top Cabinet have already received the jab and rallied Kenyans to follow suit.