Kenya Approves AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine for Use

With the doses expected in the country in a few days' time, Health Ministry revealed that the vaccination exercise will kick-off in March, as soon as the batch arrives.

Kenya Approves AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine for Use
AstraZeneca vaccine pack sample. [Source/ Al Jazeera]

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has passed the administration of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in the country, clearing the way for its roll-out soon.

The board evaluated some of the vaccine samples presented and ruled them fit for use in the country. It is a requirement by the World Health Organisation [WHO], that each nation must approve the vaccine before it can be given to the citizens. 

Kenya, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil are among the nations that were undertaking trials for the vaccine. However, South Africa paused the trials on realizing that the vaccine had only minimal effect on the new virus strain.

Kenya is expected to receive about 24 million doses around next week, as reported by the Health Chief Administrative Secretary [CAS] Dr. Mercy Mwangangi.

After receiving the batch, the Health Ministry will then launch the vaccination exercise starting early March. The first vaccination phase will pay attention to medics, security officers, and teachers with about 1.2 million people targeted.

After that, the second phase will target 5.1 million Kenyans aged above 50 years, then the third phase will see another 5.2 million above 18 years but with underlying conditions. 

WHO has called upon the nations to consider purchasing the vaccine despite the negative feedback from South Africa. Further WHO requires that every country signs an agreement with the vaccine manufacturer absorbing them from any blame should the vaccine backfire.

"All countries must sign the agreements with any manufacturer they are procuring from before the doses are received through Covax," maintained WHO. 

Although Kenya was to receive its supply last week, that never happened as explained by Dr. Mercy Mwangangi who stated that the supply chains have reportedly delayed the delivery.