Health CS Mutahi Kagwe gets Covid-19 vaccine on March 26.

Kenya is ramping up the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations, with 130,575 people already receiving the lifesaving shot according to latest figures from the Ministry of Health.

Frontline health workers, teachers, the police, and those aged 58 and above are targeted in the country’s phase one of the vaccine roll out.

But with the rising spread of coronavirus variants in the last one month, which prompted the government to turn to stricter pandemic control measures in the counties of Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kajiado and Machakos, a speedy administration of the 1.12 million AstraZeneca shots delivered in the country in early March might be necessary.

As at March 29, Kenya’s population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine is 0.23 per cent placing the country at number 14 in Africa in terms of share of the citizens who have been inoculated at least once.

Morocco leads her peers in Africa as the country with most shots administered at 7.6 million.

“In less than 12 days, our admission in hospitals has increased by 52 per cent. The positivity rate is the highest since the pandemic began and the stress on our health care is unparalleled,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta before leading his Cabinet and other senior government officials in getting the Covid-19 vaccine on March 26.

Read also: China has pledged 10 million COVID-19 jabs to 53 developing countries

In the last seven days, Kenya has been recording an average of 1,354 new coronavirus cases. Latest figures show that 1,530 people tested positive to the disease on March 30 out of a sample size of 8,010 implying that the country’s positivity rate is at an alarming 19.1 per cent.

The number of cases in the disease infected zone continues to rise with Nairobi leading at 686, Nakuru 164, Kiambu 151, Machakos 41 and Kajiado 30.

The rising cases come at a time when hospitals are struggling with oxygen supplies as patients hoard cylinders in their homes. According to the ministry of Health, there are 152 patients in ICU, 46 of whom are on ventilator support while 97 are on supplemental oxygen.

US drug maker Johnson & Johnson announced on March 29 it has reached a deal to supply the African Union with up to 400 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine starting June.

The move could benefit Kenya since India has announced temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to meet demand at home as infections surge.

Kenya has recorded 133,000 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic was first reported in the country over a year ago. About 92,290 people have recovered from the disease while 2,147 patients have lost their lives.

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