Covid-19: 407,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from UK land at JKIA

AstraZeneca vaccine doses

The second consignment of 407,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses donated by United Kingdom arrives at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on  August 17, 2021.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The second consignment of 407,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses donated by the United Kingdom (UK) arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Tuesday evening.

Covid-19: 407,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine land at JKIA

The vaccines were donated to Kenya under the GAVI-Covax mechanism, a facility created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to oversee procurement, allotment and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to 92 countries that have signed up.

During President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the UK  last month, the donors assured that the earlier batch of 410,000 AstraZeneca doses would be followed by another of 407,000 doses.

Covid: 407,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine land at JKIA

“The Ministry of Health has received 407,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to make a total of 817,000 doses as a contribution of the British government in Kenya’s fight against Covid-19," said Acting Director General for Health Patrick Amoth.

"We will soon receive 393,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, 1.7 million doses of Moderna vaccine in the next few weeks and 1.8 million doses of Pfizer in September year, " added Dr Amoth.  

He also revealed that Japan had agreed to partner with Kenya to deploy equipment to enable the government to administer the Pfizer vaccine.

"I would like to thank the UK government, WHO, UNICEF and all our partners who are helping to ensure that our vaccine deployment is in place," Dr Amoth said.

So far 2.1million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered  in the country with at least 750,000 people being fully vaccinated. Dr Amoth said that the government seeks to inoculate 10 million people by December.

In June this year, Kenya’s Covid-19 vaccine taskforce chair disclosed to Nation.Africa that the government had placed an order for 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April but they expected to receive 13 million doses from the African Union (AU) as the price by dose had gone down.

Speaking in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, a member of the vaccine taskforce who sought anonymity explained that the Johnson & Johnson doses were fewer due to manufacturing constraints.

 “We paid for 10 million doses but we are getting 393,000 because the J&J manufacturing plant in South Africa has not yet received full WHO approval to deliver the expected amount.

Last month, South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare officially supplied the first batch of J&J vaccines to the country.

This was the first set of vaccines to be manufactured in the country from active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) - substances used to make the final drug product which were sourced from Europe according to Aspen.

South Africa's vaccination drive suffered a major setback in April after US drug regulator Federal Drug Administration (FDA) halted production of J&J vaccines at a plant in Baltimore run by Emergent Biosolutions Inc after it was found to be contaminated.

Aspen had been contracted by J&J to manufacture the vaccines in the  country via a process called 'fill and finish' and had been sourcing APIs from the Baltimore plant and was asked to destroy 2 million doses.