In Summary

• Doses to arrive early next year, to cover 20 per cent of Kenya’s population

•The announcement means Kenya has applied for the largest number of doses in East Africa.

“The first to be vaccinated will be frontline workers, then the vulnerable and the elderly,” acting director-general of Health Patrick Amoth told the Star.

He said Kenya did not dictate which vaccine to receive because Gavi has signed agreements with manufacturers of about nine vaccine candidates.

“The Oxford University-Astrazeneca candidate will be ideal for Kenya because it fits within our cold chain supply system. It can be stored in 2-8 degrees and we have refrigerators for that,” Amoth said. “It is also being tested in the country in Kilifi.”

Pfizer- BioNTech’s, Moderna’s and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines have all reported efficacy of more than 90 per cent.

However, the first two require ultra-cold storage not widely available in Kenya.

The Pfizer candidate is also not among the contracted vaccines that will be supplied to poor countries through Gavi.

Kenya expects to receive a vaccine early next year, but Amoth did not specify the timeframe.

He said Kenya will grant emergency use approval to the appropriate candidate immediately that vaccine gets such approvals in Europe and the US.

“Once they get the approval from the European Medicines Agency and in the UK, then we will also consider granting such authorisation in Kenya,” he said.

The announcement means Kenya has applied for the largest number of doses in East Africa.

Last week on Thursday, Uganda’s Ministry of Health said it ordered nine million doses to cover 20 per cent of the country’s population of 43 million people.

“Plans are underway to secure additional doses of the vaccine to cover more people,” the Ugandan Health ministry said in a statement.

Uganda said it specifically applied for the Oxford University-Astrazeneca vaccine because it has no capacity to store other vaccines that require ultra-cold conditions.

Rwanda’s Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije on Sunday also announced they had applied for either AstraZeneca or the Moderna vaccine.

Ngamije didn’t, however, say how many doses they applied for but said they hoped Rwanda would be among the first countries in Africa to receive them.

It is not known if Tanzania, which claims there is no Covid-19 there, applied for any vaccine.

 Source: Ministry of Health / Star