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Kenya expects 540,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine this week, but there will still be a shortfall of over 400, 000 doses to complete a second round of vaccinations.
By Sunday, 995, 012 people had received the first dose nationwide, which means even with the new consignment, not everyone eligible for a second dose is assured. Yesterday, the country was due to receive a consignment of 358,000 doses of AstraZeneca from Denmark.
The consignment was expected at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 9.30pm via an Air France plane through Gavi-Covax, the Vaccine Alliance, an organisation appointed by the World Health Organization to oversee the procurement, allotment and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to 92 countries that have signed up for the Covax facility.
In an interview with the Nation, Dr Willis Akhwale, Kenya Covid-19 vaccine advisory taskforce chairman, assured the public that the batch of donated vaccines would be distributed throughout the country so that the vaccination drive can pick up tomorrow.
“Denmark has given us 358,000 doses today but within the week we are expecting an additional 182,000 doses of the same vaccine from COVAX, who are yet to furnish us with the flight details, but Unicef has promised and they are coming from Europe.”
Dr Akhwale said the doses will be delivered to all regional government stores within 24 hours. “We have an effective cold chain storage system and so we plan to distribute to all counties, save for Mandera, which has not finished doses and for that reason we will not rush to give them more.”
Denmark, Norway, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Luxembourg recently linked blood clots in some recipients to the vaccine, opting not to use it even as concerns arise over the expiry date of the vaccines.
Dr Akhwale added that though the government had placed an order for 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April, officials expect to receive 13 million doses from the African Union.
In April, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe admitted that there would be challenges in rolling out Covid-19 vaccination nationwide due to delays in delivery of AstraZeneca and hence the decision to outsource.
Yesterday, the Coalition for Dialogue in Africa (CoDA), an independent team that supports the African Union to put systems in place for the manufacture of essential vaccines, announced a new commission to oversee vaccine production.
This is due to growing concerns that Africa has for the last one year depended on the COVAX facility apart from the goodwill of European nations to access Covid-19 vaccines.
CoDA also named the University of Nairobi among 17 universities where genomic research will be undertaken.