Health Ministry mulls Covid storage expansion ahead of vaccine arrivals

Written By: Collins Anampiu

covid-19 vaccine

The country has kicked off plans to expand its cold chain capacity across the country.

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The Ministry of Health has already initiated discussions with national treasury that could see funds availed to procure freezers that can store the vaccine at -70°C.

This as the country awaits to receive Covid-19 vaccines under the Covax programme ahead of mass roll out countrywide.

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The Health Ministry intends to request funds for vaccine storage facilities vaccines that can achieve -20 degrees Celsius and store up to 20 million vials.

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Addressing a virtual meeting organised by the Kenya Medical Association Dr Akhwale said facilities with capacity to maintain temperatures below 70 degrees Celsius are available in Kemri and a few other facilities but they are already holding other biologicals.

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He added that the ministry was cautious not to contaminate vaccines with those biologicals.

Akhwale said although Kenya has ordered the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab, it can still buy the Pfizer vaccine once it becomes available and storage is available.

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Currently on the WHO’s Vaccine Introduction Readiness Assessment Tool, Kenya records an average score of 33 per cent preparedness for Covid-19 vaccine roll-out against a recommended rate of 80 per cent.

Akhwale said the deployment plan will cost 34 billion shillings, to cover 30 per cent of the population between March 2021 to June 2023.

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