Kenya is one of the six countries in Africa that have been picked to get a share of 55 million vaccine donations by June as the US flexes muscles to wipe out the pandemic globally.
This as the country received 358,700 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday donated by the Government of Denmark at a time when the country was running out of vaccine stocks for rollout of the second shot.
The country also expects delivery of about 10 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines starting August as Kenya seeks to administer shots to the arms of approximately 60 per cent of the population by June 2022.
The 10 million doses are part of the 30 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines that Kenya is purchasing from South Africa.
“Our goals are to increase global COVID-19 vaccination coverage, prepare for surges and prioritize healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations based on public health data and acknowledged best practice, and help our neighbors and other countries in need,” the White House said.
“Approximately 14 million – or 25 per cent of these 55 million vaccines – will be shared with regional priorities and other recipients, such as: Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, other CARICOM countries, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, and Bosnia.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) seven African countries have already used 100 per cent of the vaccines they received earlier in the year through Covax and seven more have administered over 80 per cent.
“Twenty-three African countries have used less than half of the doses they have received so far, including four of the countries experiencing a resurgence,” WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said.
Across Africa, roughly 12 million people are now fully vaccinated, but this is still less than one per cent of Africa’s population. The continent is currently in a race to ensure about 1.25 million AstraZeneca doses in 18 African countries are administered by the end of August to avoid expiration.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has also stressed the need to build Africa’s capacity to manufacture vaccines to arrest emerging pandemics.
World leaders have pledged to share approximately one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to poor countries to ramp up the Vaccination process, with at least half of these donations coming from the US.
The World Bank had also announced a partnership with the African Union to finance the acquisition and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine for 400 million people in Africa.