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Covid-19: Light at the end of the tunnel

Kenya has ordered 24 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine enough to cover 20 percent of the country’s population. 
The doses will cost a total of Ksh10 billion, with each dose estimated to cost about sh320.

The request of the vaccines was submitted to the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) by the Ministry of Health.

According to Gavi, Kenya did not dictate which vaccine to receive, given that it had signed agreements with nine vaccine manufacturers. The vaccines reporting more than 90 percent efficacy include Pfizer- BionTech’s, Moderna’s and Russia’s Sputnik V.

However, the first two require ultra cold storage not widely available in Kenya. Also, Pfizer is not among the contracted vaccines that will be supplied to poor countries.

Reports indicate that Kenya expects to receive a vaccine early next year, with the timeframe not specified. 

The Oxford University-Astrazeneca candidate of the Covid-19 vaccine is thought of as ideal for Kenya, as it can be stored in 2-8 degrees and Kenya has refrigerators for that. It is also being tested in Kilifi County.

This vaccine was a harmless weakened version of common virus that causes a cold on chimpanzees.

The guidelines and policies on how the vaccine will be administered once it is available will be given by a Covid-19 vaccine Taskforce that has been formed in the country.

The Ministry of Health is looking forward to  to having discussions with AstraZeneca, to ensure that Kenya is first in line, since there are about eight countries that are on trial for the vaccine.

In Eastern Africa, Uganda already ordered nine million doses of the Oxford University – AstraZeneca vaccine and Rwanda applied for either AstraZeneca or the Moderns vaccine.

World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed new guidelines on the groups to prioritize for Covid-19 vaccination in September, with the first priority being health workers that are directly engaged in the response.

Countries were also advised to make their own decisions depending on the type of vaccines that are available and what they intend to achieve. 

This is what will apply in Kenya, depending on whether the country’s aim is to prevent death or to curb the virus and return to normalcy.

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