By Mary Hearty

Kenya received an additional 410,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to help scale up ongoing efforts to vaccinate its adult population.

Dr Mercy Mwangangi, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) after receiving the vaccine batch, on behalf of the Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe at the Homo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), said that the donation will go a long way towards boosting Kenya’s journey towards realizing herd immunity.

“Our capacity for vaccine deployment remains very robust, but as is now common knowledge, our efforts have been greatly affected by supply constraints. When we receive donations such as what we have received today from friends and well-wishers, it is a deserved shot in the arm for our vaccination efforts.” Dr Mwangangi said.

Ababu Namwamba, Foreign affairs CAS who was also present said that global solidarity remains key in the fight against the pandemic adding that it will ensure equitable access to the lifesaving vaccines.

On the other hand, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya Josephine Gauld said the consignment is the first batch of the 817,000 doses for Kenya with a further donation of 407,000 doses from the UK expected in the country via the COVAX facility.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe had previously announced that more vaccine doses will be arriving in the country beginning next week in a boost to the ongoing vaccination campaign. Kenya is also expecting to receive 1,760,000 doses of Pfizer from the US government.

A further 235,000 doses of Astrazeneca are expected in the country from Greece with an extra 55,000 doses of AstraZeneca set to arrive in the country from Lativia as part of bilateral donations.

The Covax facility has also allocated Kenya 407,040 doses of AstraZeneca and 271,440 doses of Pfizer. This besides the 13 million doses of Johnson and Johnson, procured by the government through the AVAT-AU mechanism, whose delivery will start next month.

The roll out of the national vaccination campaign is being led by the Ministry of Health, with support from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and other partners. The Government of Kenya is currently prioritising second doses for health workers, teachers, other essential workers and people aged over 58.

According to WHO Regional Office for Africa, about 82 million doses have been received in countries in Africa as of 31 July, 2021; 62 million doses administered; and 520 million doses are expected via COVAX and AVAT by end 2021