The Executive President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta has paid a visit to the Nairobi National Vaccine Depot on Thursday.
This visit comes shortly after the country’s first shipment of over 1 million AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines was received.
The World Health Organization (WHO)-run Covax facility sent millions of vaccines to the East African country as well as other African countries including Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The first consignment is part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.56 million doses.
Kenyatta heaped praises on the joint efforts against combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic witnessed so far on the continent.
In his words:
”We are standing here today barely a few weeks after the most developed countries and beginning our own process of vaccination. Whereas previously we would probably have had to wait years and years while the rest of the world was moving ahead.”
”This time around, because of the proactive nature we adopted, because of working together as an African continent, we are barely weeks behind the rest of the world. And I think this is the spirit we need in Africa must continue to adopt until we overcome this disease.”
The President also appealed to all Kenyan residents to be at alert as the virus is still within the communities.
”I urge all Kenyans not to drop the guard, lets us not think that since the vaccines have arrived, life will resume normally, we have to continue protecting ourselves by adhering to the measures stipulated by the Ministry of health”, he said.
He further said that the government expects another batch by April which will cater for more citizens.
”We want to ensure all Kenyans are vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 infections, end of March/ April we are expecting another batch. We will receive more batches until our people are vaccinated across the country,” he added.
The WHO has also issued a note of warning against the domination of coronavirus vaccines by countries with freer financial means. They added that the end of the global health emergency is largely contingent upon the vaccination of all citizens in all nations across the world.
Consequently, the target of the COVAX scheme is to supply vaccines to dozens of countries in the first hundred days of 2021, and two billion doses by the end of the year. From this, about 237 million AstraZeneca doses will be delivered by the end of May to about 142 participating economies.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and made available to the COVAX facility. This is courtesy of an advance purchase agreement between Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and SII. They were procured and transported by UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen.