Covid vaccine: No serious side effects reported in Kenya, State says

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe's briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Kenya

Kenya's Health ministry has said that it will continue rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine since serious adverse side effects arising from the jab have not been reported yet.

Out of the close to 20,000 people that have been vaccinated with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine so far, only 40 people in the country are officially reported to have had side effects. This translates to less than 1 per cent of Kenyans reporting any side effects.

Kenya’s Vaccine Task force chair, Dr Willis Akhwale, says none of the reported cases required critical medical attention. 

“Most of the people whose data is with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board have reported headaches, fever and muscle pains,” he said at a briefing on Wednesday. 

“We will keep monitoring to look out for adverse effects if any,” he added.

Kenya’s stand on the vaccine is now in line with that of the World Health Organization, which says the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for use.

However, the government has said that it will separately monitor Kenya’s cases of side effects using the Pharmacovigilance system under the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Growing cases

Speaking at the same event at Afya House, Heath Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe, said the number of patients being hospitalised with Covid-19 is on a steady increase.

He noted that Kenya’s Covid-19 positivity rate stands at 17 per cent after 1,279 new cases were recorded. The new cases were from 7,450 samples tested in the past 24 hours and raised the total confirmed cases to 116,310.

Over the same 24-hour period, 12 patients succumbed to Covid-19, raising total fatalities in Kenya to 1,937.

Kagwe also announced that another 280 patients have recover from disease, raising total recoveries to 89,061. Of these, the CS said, 154 were in home-based care while 126 were in hospitals.

The Health CS said that ICU cases have climbed to over 100 in the last one week from a low of 30 two months ago.

He said that since January 2021, 200 people have succumbed to Covid-19.

At the same time, Mr Kagwe revealed that at least 20,000 people have received the Covid-19 vaccine since the rollout of the vaccination last week.