NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1 – The Ministry of Health is considering the China-made Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine reported to be 79 per cent effective ahead of its clearance by the World Health Organization (WHO).
So far WHO has only given emergency validation to a US-German vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech which has an efficacy rate of 95 per cent.
The health ministry had in December preselected the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as its preferred COVID-19 immunization plan citing affordability and ease of storage under Kenya’s climatic conditions.
Health Director-General Patrick Amoth had said at the time the country expected 24 million free doses which would cover 20 per cent of the population with an additional 12 million doses set to be procured at the cost of Sh10 billion to reach another 10 per cent.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi in a briefing on Friday however said the government is also looking at other alternative vaccines.
“We are looking at all the other vaccines that have been approved within the WHO so that we will not only be relying on one type of vaccine. The ideal thing to do is to use several because we do not know the impact of either,” said Kagwe.
According to Kagwe, the government has already set up a protocol to be used when distributing the vaccines with priority given to those at the frontline in fighting the pandemic.
“We have a mechanism that we are going to use to ensure that we start with the healthcare workers, the police, teachers in schools, students,” he added.
The vaccine will be offered to those who request for it, making it a voluntary initiative.
“It is important to use the word offered since there is no mandatory vaccination of anybody it is people who would wish to do so,” the Health CS said during his first briefing in 2021.
He however urged Kenyans to continue adhering to the containment measures set in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
According to the Ministry of Health, the disease is still a threat creating the need to stick to the preventive measures.
The health ministry reported 156 coronavirus cases on New Year’s Eve after testing 4,317 samples.
Kenya also lost eleven people to the disease raising the country’s death toll to 1,681.