The country’s quest to fight the pandemic has seen light at the end of the tunnel after the Nation Treasury has allocated Sh.6.5 billion for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.
In spite of the challenges brought about by the pandemic, 2021/2022 budget has renewed hope to have more Kenyans vaccinated against covid-19.
The government will finally now be able to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers.
The funds are expected to finance the second phase of vaccination which is planned to run till June 2022, targeting a total of 9.7 million Kenyans.
The country was supposed to begin its second phase of vaccination in May but India, which is fighting a huge wave of Covid-19 cases, banned the exportation of vaccines.
The chairperson of Kenya’s vaccine task force, Willis Akhwale, said the lack of doses had stopped the vaccination process.
“Kenya expected to have got its shipment in April and May,” Akhwale said.
“We got the information that this was delayed. We were told to expect in May, and even right now in May, there is no real concrete confirmation that we are going to get them. Therefore, for us in Kenya, with this uncertainty, we decided to shift the date of the second dose from eight weeks to 12 weeks. The first people who got their jab at the beginning of March will now be due for their second dose the first week of June. So, we remain hopeful that COVAX will be in a position to deliver some doses.”
However, the Health Ministry revised the interval period for the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine to 12 weeks in line with WHO recommendation and started the administration of the second dose the first week of this month.
The Health Ministry commenced inoculation against the coronavirus in early March, soon after the country received 1.02 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses that were manufactured in India under the COVAX facility.
The ministry assured the public that efforts to acquire the Covid-19 vaccines are underway to ensure as many as eligible people are fully immunized in the shortest time possible, and that the entire adult population will be vaccinated by June 2022.
“To secure the second dose of the vaccine as fast as possible, the government is working with the COVAX facility, which is a program that ensures low and middle income countries access Covid-19 vaccines,” said the ministry.
The ministry ruled out mixing of Covid-19 vaccines even when jabs from other manufacturers become available in the country.
As of yesterday, a total of 1,030,445 vaccines have so far been administered across the country.
Out of these, total first doses are 979,955 while total second dose are 50,490.
The uptake of the second dose among those who received their first dose is at 5.15 per cent with majority being males at 57 per cent while females are at 43 per cent.