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A health worker waits to administer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa

Corona Virus

Kenya worried of India, UK and South African variants

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27- Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has announced that COVID-19 variants from the United Kingdom, India and South Africa are fast spreading in the country.

Kagwe said the variants had been detected in 39 samples from Kenyans who had no travel history.

In a statement, Kagwe said that 28 samples had the Indian variant while six had the UK variant. One sample had the South African variant. Four had variants from the two countries.

The CS further expressed concerns of one novel sample that had both the UK and Indian variant which he points out has significant public health implications.

“It is important to note that the ongoing genomic surveillance has revealed early and established community transmission of both UK and Indian variants of concern in Kisumu, Mombasa and Kisumu Counties,” he said.

He made the announcement on Thursday when the country recorded 341 new cases from a sample size of 3,646 pushing the total caseload to 169,697.  

Kagwe said 11 patients had succumbed to the virus raising fatalities to 3,108.  

963,241 people had been vaccinated by May 27 with the first dose of the Aastrazeneca vaccine.

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The government announced that people who got their first COVID-19 vaccine dose will start receiving their second dose from Friday.

Chairperson of the Vaccine Taskforce Dr. Willis Akhwale said those due for the vaccination had already received notification messages.

“In keeping with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, second dose is administered after 12 weeks so people who are due have received a message as a reminder which is being sent 48 hours to when one is expected to go for their second jab from tomorrow,” Dr. Akhwale said.    

He said only 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were received in March through the COVAX facility are left as well as 72,000 others which the Ministry expects to receive from South Sudan.

“We have estimated that close to 100,000 doses will be available and 72, 000 others aboard Kenya Airways will be arriving tomorrow (Friday),” he said.

Kenya received 1.02 million doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccine from the COVAX facility in March this year initially targeting frontline workers.

Kagwe has reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure that 60 percent of the population is vaccinated by June 2022.

“In this regard, the procurement agreement through African Union for 30 million doses of Johnson and Jonson vaccine is almost complete,” Kagwe stated.

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