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March 5, 2021 |Acting Health Director General Dr Patrick Amoth receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab during the official launch of a nationwide vaccination campaign held at the Kenyatta National Hospital which was officiated by Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache/CFM - Jemimah Mueni

Corona Virus

Health Ministry says Kenyans may need annual COVID-19 vaccination

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 6 – The Ministry of Health has warned that Kenyans may need annual vaccination against COVID-19 because the multiple vaccines currently in administration in the country have an immunity duration of a year.

The Ministry’s COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce Chairman, Dr Willis Akhwale told the Senate Committee on Health that global research has shown that a booster dose revved up immunity even further.

“This is what is being monitored with a possibility that it may become an annual requirement if at the end of 10 months after the people have been vaccinated the levels will be low. So the simple answer is, especially after two doses in the first year it is possible that one would be required to be vaccinated again in the coming year,” Dr Akhwale told Senators.

The National Vaccine Taskforce Chairman explained that for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the protection sets in four weeks because they are given the second dose within two weeks to have the full protection.

“This protection is projected to last up to ten months. What I can say is the information we have, is we really need two doses but as more information comes on the need to have annual vaccination we will keep Kenyans updated,” Dr. Akhwale said.

Akhwale further explained that in order to better address its policies, the Ministry is working with the country’s academic research institutes to monitor the issue of the anti-bodies within the population following their vaccination.

“We just don’t want to adopt global trends without local evidence and in particular we will also be looking at issues of natural immunity to see how far it remains protective and the issue of booster dose is specifically important especially where you see the waning of natural immunity and also the waning of immunity from vaccination,” he said.

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