Covid-19 shots near 500,000 as Kenya misses key vaccine manufacturing forum

Over 487,000 people in Kenya have received the AstraZeneca vaccine as at April 11.

Latest data from the Ministry of Health show that members of the public, including senior citizens above 58 years constitute the most recipients at 258,584, closely followed by health workers at 118,833. Teachers and security officers, who have been vaccinated are 70,338 and 39,523 respectively.

At 56.5 per cent of those inoculated or 275,282 people, more males continue to get the shot than females, who now represent 43.5 per cent or 211,746 shots.

The future of the vaccination program, however, remains uncertain as the country is expected to face supply hitches with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine stocks likely to run out in under 10 days.

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The vaccine supply, which Kenya has been receiving from the Serum Institute of India under the World Health Organization COVAX plan, is expected to reduce as India prioritizes domestic vaccination needs.

India overtook Brazil as the second worst-infected country behind the US after data showed that Covid-19 cases continued to surge. The South Asian nation reported over 168,000 new cases over a 24-hour period on Monday, April 12.

Meanwhile, Kenya has missed representation at a meeting organized by the African Union in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) despite mounting concerns over vaccine supply.

The continental meeting brought together various African heads of states including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Felix Tshisekedi of DRC, and Macky Sall of Senegal, in a brainstorming session over their countries’ preparedness and or lack of it in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other dignitaries in the conference were chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Myal, CEO, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Read also: US: Do not travel to Kenya due to Covid-19 surge

President Paul Kagame issued a rallying call to his African counterparts to forge strategic public-private partnerships that will boost expertise and investment to combat Covid-19 pandemic and future emergencies.

Mr Kagame said that he had initiated negotiations with some vaccine makers specifically focusing on the messenger RNA used by Moderna and Pfizer companies.

“We have been involved in discussions and I have briefed a few colleagues on our continent, but we want to take this forward by discussing it with others,” he said.

Rwanda, a country of about 13 million people, has so far vaccinated 238,000 people.

Moussa Faki Mahamat called for what he described as a strategic partnership for a new health world order in a view of enabling the continent to meet most of its need for pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.

AU initiated its own Covid-19 distribution agenda, African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, aimed at increasing the continent’s ability to distribute millions of vaccines to African states, which have been under the Covax arrangement.

Kenya is still in a tough shape after recording a total of 20 deaths of Covid-19 in the last 24-hour period, pushing the cumulative fatalities to 2,368. A total of 1,645 patients are currently admitted in various health facilities countrywide, the ministry of health said.

The data also shows that 486 people tested positive in Kenya, raising recorded positive cases to 146,156. This implies that the country’s positivity rate is at 16.3 per cent currently.

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