Kenya orders China’s COVID-19 vaccine SinoPharm, to be available in February

Mutahi Kagwe
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. [Photo courtesy]

Kenya has now changed tune and is angling towards Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, SinoPharm.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Friday announced that it is likely Kenyans will received the vaccine in early February.

“By the end of the second week of February, we might have the vaccine. Police, teachers and health care workers will be vaccinated first,” stated the CS.

He added that COVID-19 vaccination will not be mandatory.

“There will be no mandatory vaccination of anyone. It will be for those who are willing,” he said.

SinoPharm has an effective rating of 86%.

Earlier, Kenya had said that a shipment of 24 million doses of UK’s Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine had been made and would arrive into the country in the first quarter of the year.

However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in a statement on Wednesday in Brussels said that it will hold back on approvals for Africa in the usage of the vaccine.

EMA stated that AstraZeneca is yet to provide complete data to get its approval despite the same vaccine being given a green light to be administered in the UK starting Monday January 4.

“At the moment, AstraZeneca has only provided data on their clinical trials to the European Medicines Agency,” EMA Deputy Executive Director Noel Wathion stated according to the Standard.

Kenya has settled for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for a number of reasons among them, the fact that it is cheap and can be stored under normal refrigeration conditions unlike other vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna.

Its ease of storage makes it easy to distribute. Kenya booked the 24 million doses through World Health Organization (WHO) Covax facility.

This new development comes as 156 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Friday bringing the tally to 96,612.

Another 65 patients were discharged bringing the total recoveries to 78,802.