Kenya’s Covid-19 vaccines storage capacity has once again received a major boost yesterday after Japan donated a dozen ultra-cold chain freezers.
The deep freezers, with a capacity to store three million doses were handed to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Tuesday.
“We are extremely thankful to the Japanese government for this donation which will enable us store vaccines safely so as to vaccinate as many people as possible,” Mr Kagwe said.
The freezers will facilitate the storage of vaccines at temperatures of up to negative 70 degrees, adding that vaccines such as Pfizer from the US requires extreme cold temperatures for storage.
Three of the freezers will be stored at the central vaccine stores in Kitengala while the others while be distributed to the nine central stores in the country which include Nairobi, Nyeri and Kakamega.
“From the regional stores, these vaccine will be transported to selected vaccination posts at temperatures of plus two to plus eight degrees as its common with other vaccines,” Mr Kagwe said.
He added that the country will not take up vaccines that have a short life line. Currently the vaccines in the country are said to have a shelf life of six months.
“The quality and success of our vaccination program is dependent on the integrity of our cold chain. This places a huge responsibility on our officers at the National and County level to ensure these vaccines are administered as soon as possible to avoid loss of potency,” Mr Kagwe said.
The country’s Covid-19 vaccine deployment taskforce head Dr Willis Akhwale noted that the Pfizer vaccine will be stocked in facilities that can vaccinate 100 people consistently per day to avoid expiry of the vaccine at a time when the country is aiming to vaccinate 10 million people by December.
“We will not stock the Pfizer vaccine in facilities that do not have a high volume. Counties have been asked to identify which facilities will stock Pfizer and once they are identified, we will designate them as the ones that will be stocked with Pfizer as we ensure close monitoring,” said Dr Akhwale.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has announced plans to add to priority list, hotel staff, people aged 50 years and above and the over 18-year-olds with underlying medical conditions as well as those living with disabilities to get a jab.
He, however, said that for civil servants, they must exercise self-responsibility given their line of duty and be on the forefront in getting the jab.
“If you are a teacher and you don’t want to get vaccinated due to one reason or the other. Stop exposing the children. Leave that job and go do other duties,” Mr Kagwe said.
So far, a total of 2,874,858 vaccines have so far been administered across the country. Of these, total first doses are 2,080,483 while second doses are 814,375.
“The uptake of the second dose among those who received their first dose is at 39.1 per cent with the majority being males at 55 per cent while females are at45 per cent. Proportion of adults fully vaccinated is 3 per cent,” Mr Kagwe said.