What you need to know about AstraZeneca Vaccine

Written By: Muraya Kamunde

Kenya’s battle against Covid-19 received a boost Wednesday morning after the historic arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country a year after the country first announced the case.

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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.

Front-line workers, teachers and non-teaching fraternity, the uniformed forces and the immigration officers have been listed by the Government as the first to receive the jab during the roll out of the inoculation programme.

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CS Kagwe said that the Health Ministry will roll out of the vaccines which will begin with the regional hospitals and Level 2 hospitals.

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The country is ultimately planning to import 24 million doses which the World Health Organization (WHO) says the vaccine should cover at least a third of the population.

What you need to know about AstraZeneca Vaccine

Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) issued interim recommendations for use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (AZD1222).

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Those aged above 18 years can be administered the vaccine including those aged 65 and above.

While the vaccine supplies are limited, it is recommended that priority be given to health workers at high risk of exposure and older people.

The vaccination is also recommended for persons with comorbidities (presence of two or more diseases in a patient) that have been identified as increasing the risk of severe COVID-19, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.

Vaccination can be offered to people who have had COVID-19 in the past.

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Vaccination can be offered to breastfeeding women if they are part of a group prioritized for vaccination. WHO does not recommend discontinuation of breastfeeding after vaccination.

While pregnancy puts women at higher risk of severe COVID-19, very little data are available to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy.

Who is the vaccine not recommended for?

People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it.

The vaccine is not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age pending the results of further studies.

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