Published On: Wed, Jun 9th, 2021

Kenya eyes 72,000 AstraZeneca doses surrendered by South Sudan due to slow uptake

Kenya will receive 72,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses that neighbouring South Sudan returned to COVAX citing slow uptake, delays by Parliament to approve the drugs’ use, and a drawn-out training of people to administer the jabs.

The consignment is expected in Nairobi by the end of this week and will help ensure Kenyans expecting the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine get it on time.

About a week ago, Kenya also received about 130,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Democratic Republic of Congo after the central African country said it was not in position to administer the jabs on time before their use by date.

South Sudan Minister for Health Dr Mayen Machuot said, “we don’t want to run the risk of the vaccine expiring in our hands. It will be accounted for, so we are committing to return 72,000 doses so that they are used by countries that can deploy them in one week.”

South Sudan got 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in late March from COVAX but has so far has administered a paltry 8,000 shots.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has asked countries to accept all valid COVID-19 vaccination certificates, saying that a number of countries are only giving nod to travelers vaccinated with certain brands of vaccines.

Speaking during the 74th World Health Assembly 1 virtual meeting, Mr Kagwe asked member states to ensure that there is sharing of intellectual property rights with countries so as to allow for the development of local capacity in vaccine development.

“Countries must desist from engaging in discriminatory conduct and accept all valid certificates for vaccines approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use,” Mr Kagwe said.

“There is a need to re-evaluate ownership of IP rights to reflect the true participation in creating the same. Too often, research results and trials conducted in Africa are assumed to be the property of some participants instead of all participants,” he added.

The CS also pointed out the need for member states to consider regional and local manufacturing of vaccines by facilitating and fast-tracking regulatory and prequalification for local production, especially in Africa.

In the forum, a number of health ministers across the world highlighted the need to address the vaccine crisis, including support for waiving intellectual property rights and boosting local production of vaccines.

In the last 24 hours, Kenya’s positivity rate has risen to 10.3 per cent after the country recorded 382 new cases, pushing the total caseload to 168,925.

The country’s death toll went up by 14 patients, all of them being late deaths reports after conducting facility record audits within the last one month. The total number of fatalities now stand at 3,087.

A total of 1,134 patients have recovered from the virus while 1,079 patients are still admitted in various health facilities across the country.

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Kenya eyes 72,000 AstraZeneca doses surrendered by South Sudan due to slow uptake
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