22-06-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
While almost all health facilities in the counties are grappling with the lack of vaccines, Kenya is taking a small step towards immunising all Kenyans and residents who have already received their first dose. Last night, another 350 000 doses of AstraZeneca, the only type of vaccine Kenya has inoculated its population, arrived from Denmark under the auspices of a Unicef programme. These doses are in addition to the 72,000 doses received through the Covax programme from South Sudan, which is not using them. The doses from northern Europe will expire on 31 July, so there is a need to dispose of them as soon as possible through a fast and efficient recall campaign.
Unicef will ensure that they are handed over to the Ministry of Health before they are distributed to regional depots for delivery to the various counties.
The priority remains to fully vaccinate all health workers and civil servants in the sectors in contact with the public, with the "over 58s" being the second priority, although many of them have already been covered, taking advantage of leftovers in the various facilities where workers had already received the second dose. These include many foreign residents living on the coast and as many compatriots living in Nairobi.
The most important thing right now is to ensure that those who received the first dose receive the second," said Susan Mochache, director in charge of health. "We are waiting for more doses from AstraZeneca and expect to vaccinate 500,000 people soon.
To reach a target that would prefigure herd immunity, Kenya would have to vaccinate 60% of its population, but at this rate, the goal would not be reached in the short term.
As of yesterday, only 0.7% of adults in Kenya had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 since the start of the exercise.
Ministry of Health figures show that 186,966 Kenyans have received their second dose, of which 51,400 are health workers, 50,902 are people aged 58 and above, 21,434 are teachers, 13,600 security officers and 49,630 residents.
These numbers are in addition to the one million people who have already received the first vaccine, namely AstraZeneca Covishield developed in India by the Serum Institute. The company has been unable to supply more doses to Kenya because of the notorious wave of 'Indian variant' that has dramatically affected the Asian country.
For now, 18.8% of those who received the first dose have been vaccinated the second time," Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe confirmed, "56% of them are men.
Danish Ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke pointed out that Denmark had decided to help Kenya to bridge the gap between Europe and Africa on access to vaccines, adding its own effort and hoping that other Western states would do the same.
"International solidarity is crucial in a pandemic,' Thonke said, 'no one is safe if everyone is not safe.
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