Kenya’s positivity rate eases as Africa Covid vaccine purchase worries rise

Kenya has in the last 24 hours recorded another 356 people who have turned positive for Covid-19, from a sample size of 4,424 posting a positivity rate of eight per cent.

According to the Ministry of Health, the new infections now push the country’s number of confirmed cases to 163,976 and the number of samples tested so far to 1,725,546.

Nairobi County recorded the highest number, accounting for 95 of the new cases, followed by Kisumu 51, Mombasa 46, Kisii 18, Kericho and Nyamira 15.

Vihiga, Baringo, Embu, Garissa, Migori and Makueni recorded the least number of positive cases with one each.

On a sad note, 21 more lives have been lost pushing the total death toll to 2,928. Three of the deaths occurred within the last 24 hours and 16 on diverse dates within the last month, while two were late death reports confirmed after the audit of facility records.

At the same time, a total of 1,105 patients are admitted to various health facilities across the country while another 4,749 are under Home-Based Isolation and Care.

On vaccination, as of May 11 a total of 921,546 persons have been vaccinated, among them 281,704 are of ages 58 years and above, 161,271 are health workers, 144,434 teachers, 77, 772 security officers and 256,365 others who were not grouped.

Read also: Africa, WHO laud US backing of Covid vaccine patent waiver

Meanwhile, Africa Union is still struggling to garner interest in its Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

While it has secured up to 400 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for countries to purchase, very few have finalized orders.

According to the president of African Export-Import Bank, Benedict Oramah, only Botswana, Cameroon, Tunisia, Togo, and Mauritius have completed orders and submitted a 15 per cent deposit as a down payment for the doses.

He added that “another 13 have signed commitment letters, but not given deposits, and another 17 have expressed interest in pre-orders however not taken further action. Twenty-one countries have not taken any action toward securing these doses.”

The AU expects to close its order book in the coming weeks in order to move forward with finalizing the delivery, which will start in the third quarter of this year.

“We want to make an appeal to all of you, especially those who have not made the orders, to please make your orders,” he said.

The Johnson & Johnson agreement would bring the continent to around half of its requirements for herd immunity, said Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr. Oramah said the J&J vaccine is seen as an ideal option for the continent because it’s one shot, which reduces logistics and administration costs.

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