Kenya is set to receive an additional 4.5 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines by mid-September to help step up the ongoing vaccination.
Vaccine Deployment Taskforce Chairman Dr Willis Akhwale said 1.7 million doses of Pfizer and two doses million of Sinopharm from China will arrive in September.
Further, 393,600 doses of single shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine will arrive by the end of August while an additional consignment of 500,000 of the same will be received in the weeks ahead.
“When it comes to prevention of severe disease, these vaccines are almost the same. There is no vaccine that is superior to the other. What you see in terms of comparison, is prevention of mild to moderate disease in different set ups. There has never been a study that compared the efficacy of these vaccines one to one,” said Dr Akhwale.
Dr Akwale has urged Kenyans to take advantage of the availability of the vaccines and get a shot saying that is the only way to attain herd immunity.
“There is a strong encouragement that people need to take these vaccines. There could be different tactics to ensure that this encouragement goes through and it is not only in Kenya especially with other employers, you can see in other countries, people cannot go to work if they are not vaccinated. In scarcity if you choose, you may actually die,” he said.
Currently, the ministry is administering AstraZeneca and Moderna, the only vaccine types that are available in the country.
“We are trying as much as we can to have one particular vaccine within a vaccination post and if you go there, you will be vaccinated with that vaccine. We may, however, have two different vaccines in the coming days when we receive Pfizer but they will be administered from different clinic areas and people will not be allowed to choose.”
Meanwhile, the private sector has so far raised Kes1 billion for the importation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines after striking an agreement with the government.
Dr Akhwale said the government will undertake the procurement of the vaccine with emphasis on the Johnson and Johnson.
“The funds are deposited in an account within CBK and we are now ready to facilitate the procurement of doses of Johnson and Johnson,” he said adding that no private entity will be allowed to directly procure COVID-19 vaccines.
Kenya banned the importation, distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by private enterprises in April following the publicity that was received by Russia’s Sputnik V which was rolled out for a few weeks in the country.
As at August 25, over 2.5 million people had been vaccinated among them, 786,340 had been vaccinated fully.