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Kenya program to vaccinate millions of citizens

Priority vaccine will be J&J, different strategies in every region

27-08-2021 by redazione

Kenya, from September, will enter the operational phase of the national programme that aims to vaccinate 10 million adults by the end of the year.
The programme was announced more than two months ago by Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe and President Uhuru Kenyatta, and was put into place by the head of the Covid-19 Emergency Task Force and World Health Organisation contact person, Dr Willis Akhwale.
The vaccination campaign is now in full swing with an initial change, announced by Akhwale himself: the priority type of vaccine for Kenya will no longer be the British AstraZeneca, as has been the case until now, with almost three million doses already used, but the American Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The reason for this conversion is easily explained: the first public vaccinations for those over 58 years of age, which began in April of this year, showed that many people did not turn up for the booster shots, and above all in rural areas, where sacrifices are required of the poor people in order to get to the nearest vaccination point, there was a very low turnout.
This is also due to the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that have been available in Kenya for the past few weeks, has to be inoculated twice. Health personnel in various locations have expressed their difficulty in convincing people and tracking them down for the booster.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, on the other hand, is known to be administered in a single dose.
There will be different distribution strategies from region to region, depending on the problems encountered in the previous months.
We will prioritise the single J&J vaccine for hard-to-reach areas," Akhwale confirmed, "and because it has fewer logistical requirements, it will be easy to distribute in remote areas where vaccination rates are disappointingly low. This will also save us money. Besides the fact that the J&J vaccine has a shelf life of two years.
This is the reason why the Kenyan government has made its first real purchase of vaccines from the American multinational: 13 million doses that will arrive from the end of September.
For now, the aim is to exhaust AstraZeneca's booster vaccines, while 880,000 Moderna vaccines have already arrived in the country and will be distributed in some of the safer counties inhabited by settled residents, so as to replenish them three weeks later with the same type of vaccine.
"We're not going to mix vaccines," added the director of the Vaccine Task Force, "those who get AstraZeneca as their first dose will have to wait for the same type of vaccine for their second.
This will be possible thanks to donations from European countries that have stocks of the Oxford vaccine and are distributing them to developing nations. Another 400,000 doses from AstraZeneca and more than a million from Pfizer are expected in the middle of the month, thanks to a donation from the US.
The Covax programme has also activated for further donations.
If a serious, methodical and aggressive campaign is in place when all these doses arrive, Kenya can finally begin to catch up with the countries that are most advanced in immunising their people.

TAGS: vaccini kenyaprogramma kenyapandemia kenya

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