The country is set to launch a national immunization campaign following the arrival of the much-awaited coronavirus vaccines.
The fight carrying the 1.02 million doses under the Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) shortly before mid-night. The consignment was received by top government officials led by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, Transport CS James Macharia and CS Margaret Kobia.
The vaccines arrived at the JKIA Tuesday night aboard a Qatar Airways flight QR1341.
While addressing the media, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe termed the arrival of the vaccines as an “exciting moment for our nation” saying that the country had been fighting the virus with rubber bullets.
“This is an exciting moment for our nation. We are excited about the particular event which is receiving the vaccines country. We have been fighting the virus with rubber bullets,” he said excitedly.
“The war has changed. This is a game changer on the war on Covid-19 disease in the country,” he said.
Kagwe noted that the vaccination will be a voluntary process adding that the WHO has advised countries to have a third of their populations vaccinated.
CS Kagwe said that the Health Ministry will roll out of the vaccines which will begin with the regional hospitals and level 2 hospitals.
The Ministry of Health expects to vaccinate over 15 million Kenyans from the virus.
Top on the list of those who have been lined up the receive the jab during the roll out of the inoculation program are front-line workers, who will include the teaching and non-teaching fraternity, the uniformed forces and the immigration officers.
According to the Health CS, the 1.02 million doses will be the first batch of the 4.1 million expected in Kenya, with the country ultimately planning to import 24 million doses.
The Ministry of Health has already initiated discussions with the National Treasury that could see funds availed to procure freezers that will store the vaccine at -70°C.
Sources also indicate that the ministry intends to extend request for additional funds for vaccine storage facilities that can achieve -20 degrees Celsius and store up to 20 million vials.