NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – A health worker stationed in the Intensive Care Unit, a dentist, medical students and lecturers were among ten people being prepped to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi on Friday.
The group of pre-selected individuals was due to get vaccinated anytime from 11am.
They are among the first beneficiaries of a nationwide vaccination program activated following the arrival of 1.2 million vaccines in the country of Tuesday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday flagged off the countrywide distribution of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines to regional centres.
Speaking at the country’s vaccine central storage facility in Kitengela, Kajiado County, he urged Kenyans to adhere COVID-19 containment measures even with the anticipated arrival of more vaccines in April.
He said Kenyans must not drop guard on the virus warning that COVID-19 is still within communities.
“I urge all Kenyans not to drop the guard, lets us not think that since the vaccines have arrived, life will resume normally, we have to continue protecting ourselves by adhering to the measures stipulated by the Ministry of health,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said the government expects another batch by April which will cater for more people.
“We want to ensure all Kenyans are vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 infections, end of March/ April we are expecting another batch. We will receive more batches until our people are vaccinated across the country,” he added.
President noted health workers will be given priority under the first batch which is being distributed to regional centres. Other frontline workers including teachers and police officers will also be vaccinated using the available doses.
The vaccines were transported by UNICEF as part of the global COVAX alliance, which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines for all countries around the world.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and made available to the COVAX facility thanks to an advance purchase agreement between Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and SII, were procured and transported by UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen.
The first consignment is part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.56 million doses.