How government has disappointed cartels eyeing Covid-19 vaccines

Kenyan vaccines
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrives in Kenya. [Photo: Vaccines Philadelphia Inquirer]

With Kenya being known for its penchant for corruption to enrich a few people, the government has spoken of a paradigm shift with the latest consignment of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The vaccines arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Tuesday at 11:50 pm and were received by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe flanked by other senior government officials.

The vaccines were aboard a Qatar Airways plane flight QR1341. The 1.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine were later transported to a warehouse in Kitengela from which they will be distributed.

Dr Willis Akhwale, the Covid-19 task force Chair said the vaccines’ bathes have special tracking features.

“The batches will be equipped with barcodes that will help in serialisation and traceability of the vaccines,” he said.

Unicef which is part of the Covax facility helped in the transportation of the vaccines to Kenya.

Best suited for the African market, the procurement cost for AstraZeneca’s single dose is Ksh768 ($7) going by quotations by the Ministry of Health although Unicef indicates the procurement cost at $3 (Ksh329) per dose.

Kenya had ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine for 20 percent of the population. However, Gavi said the country will only receive 4,176,000 doses of the vaccine for now.

With the first batch, frontline health workers, teachers and police officers.

Kagwe said regional hospitals will be first to receive the vaccine before it is distributed to other hospitals across the country.

The first 459,000 doses will go to Level Six and Level Five hospitals while 33,000 doses of the vaccine will be dispatched to military facilities

A total of 459,000 doses of the 1.02 million Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines will be distributed to level six and level four hospitals. Level Four hospitals will get 21,000 doses of AstraZeneca.

Level six will get 33,000 doses, while the military facilities (level four) will get 21,000 doses.

Those who will be vaccinated will have to take two doses of the vaccine, each of them four weeks apart.

Once the first group is vaccinated, the ministry according to Kagwe will vaccinate those with pre-existing conditions and hospitality workers.

Studies conducted on the UK-manufactured vaccines gave a 62 efficacy rate with two doses administered.