Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has said the government was pursuing acquisition of one million doses of vaccines each from Pfizer as well as Johnson and Johnson respectively to supplement the Astrazeneca vaccines.
However, the CS noted that the vaccines will have to pass approvals from the World Health Organization as well as the country’s stringent rules to be given out in the country
Kagwe noted that Pfizer which requires minus 70 degrees in storage, if acquired by the government would not pose any challenge since the government would also acquire the special storage facilities to go with them.
The CS made the remarks when he answered questions from the media soon after he received a donation of Personal Protective Equipment worth Sh 2.3 million donated by the Multi Choice Kenya at his Afya House office yesterday. MultiChoice Kenya Managing Director Nancy Matimu presented the donations and he was accompanied by Multichoice Chairman who is also the KBC Managing Editor Mr Naim Bilal.
Kagwe said the Kenya has only three sources where it acquires the vaccines. They include the government to government like the recent donation of 100,000 doses acquired from the government of India.
The second platform is the Covax facility where the government acquired 1.1 million doses and the last one is the African Union.
He said under the African Union facility which Kenya is yet to utilize, they have negotiated rates with manufacturers where the country can acquire the vaccines at discounted rates.
The CS said the government banned the private sector role in vaccines because of the confusion it was going to create, as well as the risk of some people taking advantage to sell the doses to Kenyans whereas they are free of charge.
He pointed out that the supply chain had complicated the acquisition of more vaccines to the country but noted that the government was working tirelessly to ensure the stocks don’t ran out.
Kagwe noted that under the Covax facility, Africa had expected to acquire 75 million doses but so far only 12 million doses had been delivered.
The CS noted that India the manufacturer of the Astrazeneca vaccines was going through a challenging time with over 200,000 cases on covid-19 being recorded daily.
He pointed out that it was for this reason India had slowed down the supply of Astrazeneca to address the problem in their country.
The CS said there has been a drop in the positivity rate being witnessed in the country in the last two weeks and that he hopes Kenyans will maintain it that way to further curtail the spread of the virus.
The CS pointed out that the drop in positivity rate can be attributed to the containment measures being adhered to by Kenyans.
However, the CS noted that there has been spikes being witnessed in certain counties which might complicate matters, and appealed to the County Covid-19 Committees to take stringent measures to curtail the spread.
Kagwe said the spikes were being witnessed in the Counties of Muranga, Uasin Gishu, Siaya and Nyeri adding that the ministry had already spoken to the respective governors to undertake county specific measures in order to curtail the spread.
The CS further said the government was aware that the current restriction measures in place were painful and were hurting Kenyans but noted that there was no alternative because the cases must be brought down.
He said there was pressure to open up certain areas of the economy such as the sporting activities.
“For the time being we have to strictly adhere to the containment measures, until such a time that we bring down the cases and our positivity rate,” he added.
He said the positivity rate must be brought down to 5 per cent as per the World Health Organization and be able to stay there for a while if the restriction measures are to be relaxed.
The CS said the hospitalization rate and those being admitted into the Intensive Care Units continues to be high.
“We don’t want to have a situation where one cannot get treated in hospitals for other ailments,” he said adding that as painful as the restrictions measures are concerned, the containment measures must be adhered to,” he added.