Kenya receives 410,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from UK as cases soar

410,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses donated by UK land at JKIA

What you need to know:

  • The Health ministry made the appeal while announcing another record high of 1,259 new infections, from a sample of 8,081 tested in the past 24 hours, placing the positivity rate at 15.6 percent.

The government Saturday urged Kenyans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, terming it the only way to make successful gains in the fight against the pandemic, even as the country continued to record high numbers of infections.

The Health ministry made the appeal while announcing another record high of 1,259 new infections, from a sample of 8,081 tested in the past 24 hours, placing the positivity rate at 15.6 percent.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi spoke at the JKIA in Nairobi while receiving a donation of 410,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the United Kingdom.

"This consignment could not have come at a better time, particularly when we are in a robust campaign to vaccinate our people against Covid-19, a disease that has caused untold suffering not only to Kenyans, but the entire world,” Dr Mwangangi said.

Strong partnership

While noting that Kenya's vaccination efforts have been hampered by supply constraints, Dr Mwangangi thanked the UK for stepping in.

She urged all Kenyans - those yet to receive their first doses and those awaiting the second one - to get the jab.

“Although this is a major step towards the fight against the virus, the war can best be won through individual and personal responsibility,” she said.

The donation came a few days after President Uhuru Kenyatta toured the UK.

The UK said the consignment will be followed by another of 407,000 doses via the Covax facility, and pledged to donate 30 million vaccine doses to needy countries.

British Deputy High Commissioner Josephine Gauld noted that the UK’s health partnership with Kenya is 30 years old and is growing stronger.

“We are pleased to be supporting Kenya’s vaccination rollout with this donation of 817,000 vaccines to save lives in Kenya,” she said.

“This donation is just the latest part of our incredibly strong partnership on Covid-19, and our Strategic Partnership with Kenya. From Covid-19 vaccines and genomic sequencing to exchanges on cancer research and treatment to help Kenya treat more cancer patients at home, the UK has a long and proud history of support for Kenya’s health sector.”

Covid-19 statistics

The ministry said it had received and administered close to two million vaccine doses since March.

As of July 30, it said, a total of 1,723,727 doses had been administered across the country, 1,062,413 being the first doses and 661,314 second doses.

Among those who had received their second doses were 204,513 people aged 58 years and above, 115,540 health workers, 95,918 teachers, 52,801 security officers and 192,542 ungrouped individuals.

The uptake rate of the second dose was 62.2 percent, with the majority of the recipients being male (55 percent) while the proportion of fully vaccinated adults was 2.45 percent.

With the 1,259 new infections in Kenya, the number of declared infections since the first one last March rose to 203,213.

Nairobi County remained in the lead with 417 new infections and was followed by Nyeri with 139, Kiambu 120, Mombasa 96 and Nakuru 66.

“This is a clear indication that city residents and many in the other counties are flagrantly flouting containment measures. This is very risky,” Dr Mwangangi said.

Kilifi County recorded 60 cases, Kajiado 42, Uasin Gishu 34, Taita Taveta 31, Nandi 28, Busia 21, Machakos 19, Kericho 16, Embu 16, Nyandarua 15, Kirinyaga and Kwale 13 each, Trans Nzoia 11 and Kisumu and Murang’a 10 each.

Turkana had nine new cases, Baringo eight, Tana River and Bomet seven each, Meru six, Garissa and Siaya five each, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Migori, Narok, Nyamira and Kakamega four each, Vihiga three, Kisii, Kitui and Makueni two each, and West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet one each.

Covid vaccines donated by UK

Ministry of Health officials, led by Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi, at the JKIA in Nairobi on July 31, 2021 to receive a consignment of 410,000 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses from the UK.

Photo credit: Ministry of Health

Five more deaths

Kenya's Covid-19 death toll increased by five to 3,931, but the ministry explained that only one death occurred over the past 24 hours while the rest were late reports confirmed after the audit of facility records in July.

CAS Mwangangi further announced the recovery of another 498 patients, 357 of them under the home-based isolation and care programme and 141 in hospital, raising the total to 188,936.

As of Saturday, a total of 1,469 Covid-19 patients had been admitted to health facilities countrywide, 185 of them in intensive care units (ICU). Some 3,965 people had been registered for home care, the ministry said.

Of those in ICU, 43 were on ventilator support, 86 on supplemental oxygen and 56 under observation.

Another 445 patients were separately on supplemental oxygen, 399 of them in general wards and 46 in high dependency units (HDU).

Situation worsening

The Covid-19 situation in the country seems to be worsening, going by the number of confirmed positive cases and the increase in hospital admissions.

Data by the Ministry of Health shows that Nairobi County is teetering on the edge of a full blow crisis, with hospitals stretched to the maximum.

Most hospitals in the capital city reported full Covid-19 ward and ICU occupancy, which means an explosion of the virus would leave tens, perhaps, hundreds, of patients without emergency care.

Public referral such as Kenyatta National Hospital, Mbagathi Hospital, Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital in Nairobi, and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu were also reportedly stretched by new admissions.

“We are headed in the wrong direction and it is high time Kenyans noticed this, more so those currently living in Nairobi. We need to go back to the basics,” said acting Health Director General Patrick Amoth.

A nurse working in one of the hospitals in Nairobi, who sought anonymity because she is not allowed to speak to the media, they had started turning away patients.

According to the daily situational report released yesterday, Nairobi and Mombasa counties have had the highest attack rates of Covid-19, at 1,878.8 and 1,121 per 100,000 population, respectively, compared to 413.6 per 100,000 for the whole country. In addition, the virus has so far spread to all the counties in the country.

Dr Githinji Gitahi, Chief Executive Officer at Amref Health Africa, warned that in the next three weeks, going by the number of Covid-19, cases the country could be overrun, given that only two per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.