NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3- The Government now says that it has allocated Sh7 billion for procurement of COVID-19 vaccines from various manufactures to avoid uncertainties.
The vaccines are to be procured before the end of the current financial year, which ends on June 30.
“We have made provisions for purchase of vaccines in this financial year and also for the next financial year where we have made necessary planning and budgeting. For this financial year we have budgeted for Sh7 billion or so and more than that for 2021-2022 financial year,” Yatani told the Senate’s Health Committee on Monday.
Yatani said with the uncertainty witnessed on when people will receive their second jab after getting the Astrazennecca, it was imperative for the government to start preparing especially because India which manufactures the drug is facing a crisis of high infections and deaths.
“We are not only targeting one particular vaccine because of challenges with supply because you can place an order today but given the queue, you might not get it immediately,” he said.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has already warned of possible delays in acquiring more vaccines due to high demand worldwide, and announced plans to acquire the Johnson and John and Pfizer.
On March 24, India placed a temporary hold on all exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
It said rising cases of the virus in the country meant domestic demand was expected to pick up in the coming weeks, and so the doses were needed for India’s own rollout.
Some 190 countries including Kenya under the Covax scheme are affected.
The scheme, which is led by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to ensure vaccines are shared fairly among all nations.
Before the exportation was halted, India had exported more than 60 million vaccine doses to 76 countries with the majority of these being the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.
Kenya received 1.02 million doses.
By May 3, 887,034 people had been vaccinated, according to data from the Health Ministry.
“Given what’s happening in India where they are reporting over 200,000 COVID cases per day we think there will be a delay, it will be difficult for the Indian government to release the number of vaccines required for the African countries under the COVAX facility,” Kagwe said..
On Monday, Yatani who was appearing before the Senate Health Committee also said that the government has made provisions to invest in local manufacturing of vaccines
“We are already making provisions to look for resources so that we do not go for crisis like the way we are dealing with now. Ultimately, we have the manpower, the equipment and talents who can do that so it is just a matter of reprogramming and putting our resources that will have better impact in the long run and that is the issue of manufacturing,” he said.