Health Ministry mulls Covid storage expansion ahead of vaccine arrivals

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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