DP Ruto, wife Rachel receive first dose of Sputnik V vaccine


DP Ruto, wife Rachel receive first dose of Sputnik V vaccine
Deputy President William Ruto receives the first jab of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine on Tuesday, March 30. Photo: William Ruto/Twitter

Deputy President William Ruto has joined a growing list of prominent Kenyans who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a surprising twist, however, the second-incommand opted for the controversial Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine which is yet to be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

In several photos posted to his social media, DP Ruto and his wife, Rachel Ruto received their first jabs of the Sputnik V vaccine- currently being offered by a private pharmacy-and authorized for emergency use in Kenya by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

“COVID-19 vaccines are our safe and effective tools in saving lives and managing the disease. I encourage Kenyans to participate in this exercise to protect ourselves against the pandemic. My family and I received the COVID-19 vaccination at the Karen Residence, Nairobi County,” DP Ruto said on Twitter after getting inoculated

The Ministry of Health has in several instances cast aspersions on the Russian-made vaccine with Health CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi saying the vaccine had not been approved for use in the country.

In a statement to the media on Tuesday, the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK)  warned personalities against marketing brands of COVID-19 vaccines to the public using social media pages.

PSK President Louis Machogu termed it as unethical and a move disallowed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board Regulations.

“The said marketing could also inadvertently lead to increase in proliferation of fake medicines in the country,” Dr. Machogu said.

The PSK boss further cautioned Kenyans on cases of global trade in falsified COVID-19 vaccines that target popularized brands.

And on Tuesday, acting Director General of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth said the vaccine was yet to be approved by W.H.O for emergency use.

While appearing before the Health Committee on coronavirus on Tuesday, Dr. Amoth noted that however, the Moderna vaccine-widely used in the United States and other parts of the world-was yet to be approved by WHO.

“Any pre-qualified vaccine approval takes less than a week for emergency authorization use, it takes a longer time for a vaccine that is not pre-qualified by the WHO, since there are set out steps that have to be followed for such an approval,” Dr Amoth said.

According to Dr. Amoth, there is a possibility of a vaccine being used without being pre-qualified by the WHO provided it had passed other stringent tests including efficacy and safety tests.

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Kenya on Tuesday distanced itself from the vaccine, asking any concerned persons to direct questions about the vaccine to its private importers in the country.

Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta led a delegation of high-profile government officials in getting the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine- a W.H.O pre-approved vaccine currently being administered in the country.

The Head of State was inoculated at State House, Nairobi prior to addressing the Nation on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Earlier he had issued a directive that the entire Cabinet and Executive office receive the jab perhaps to boost confidence in the vaccination exercise.

Following the increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations as well as deaths, the Ministry of Health on Thursday reviewed its priority list of those to be vaccinated to include persons aged 58 years and above.

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Story By Tonny Ndungu
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