For the first time, Pfizer vaccines from the United States have landed in the country.
The country received 795,600 doses of the expected 1.4 million doses of Pfizer vaccine provided by the US Government.
Due to the nature of the Pfizer vaccines, they can only survive in extremely low temperatures which is minus 70
degrees. The government thus had to make prior arrangements with its partners to acquire ultra-cold storage and install it to maintain the quality of the vaccines.
To enable the use of Pfizer vaccines in Kenya, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recently procured 12 ultra-low temperature freezers and accessories with funding from the Government of Japan.
The Pfizer vaccine is the 4th type of Covid-19 vaccine to be deployed in the country making an approximate number of doses received so far over into the country 6.3 million in their various assortments.
These vaccines will go a long way in accelerating the country’s effort to vaccinate as many of its citizens as possible against the deadly virus.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Kenya Deputy Representative Mr Jean Lokenga, another 1,236,690 doses are due to arrive during the coming weeks.
Speaking during the receiving of the doses,
COVID Update in Kenya
(HDU).” a statement signed by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe read in part.
What does this mean for Kenya?
Kenya’s war against the global pandemic is intensifying. The country is putting up long-term measures like the installation of cold storage to ensure that the vaccines remain viable after landing.
The government is now working to ensure that the issues relating to the slow delivery of vaccines are addressed.
“The circumstances leading to this slow delivery are beyond our control. However, the Government is making efforts to engage with manufacturers and other stakeholders both at the national and regional levels to ensure our people access vaccines like other countries,” said the health CS.
The World Health Organisation has so far approved six COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, including all four now available in Kenya – Astra Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer.
“Kenya is prioritizing those aged above 58 years, health care workers, security officers, and teachers, who remain at the highest risk of contracting the virus, in the ongoing vaccination drive. The government is targeting to increase daily vaccination rates to 150,000 by December this year. Vaccination posts will also be increased from 800 to 3,000 by December with the number rising to 7,877 by June next year.” a statement from the ministry of health reads in part.
The Health CS also recently commissioned the newly renovated labs at KEMRI. These are expected to boost the research efforts on new diseases in the country. The labs have been fitted with modern equipment that helps capture data on new diseases as well as the morphing viruses. This is very good for the country as it will strengthen the country’s capacity to handle emerging and re-emerging diseases such as COVID-19 as well as Ebola among others in the region.