Kenyans to wait longer for the second AstraZeneca dose
The Ministry of Health is optimistic that Kenya will start the second AstraZeneca dose vaccination soon.
This even as the COVAX facility reconfirmed that there are challenges in supply due to limited production capacity among other reasons.
And while the serum Institute of India states it is hoping to start vaccine delivery to COVAX at the end of the year, Kenya is exploring other options that will see 30 million doses of Johnson and Johnson arrive in the country in August.
It goes without saying that India’s COVID-19 worrying situation thrust many countries across the globe into an indeterminate situation regarding the availability or lack thereof of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
According to a statement by UNICEF, the key delivery partner of the COVID-19 vaccines global access facility, COVAX is under supplied. the statement further reads, soaring domestic demand has meant that 140 million doses intended for distribution to low- and middle-income countries through the end of May cannot be accessed by COVAX ..another 50 million doses are likely to be missed in June.
“High income countries account for 15 percent of the world’s population, but have 45 percent of the world’s vaccines, and lower and middle income countries account for almost half of the world’s population but have received just 17 percent of the world’s vaccines, so the gap is really huge,” Director General WHO, Tedros Adhanom said on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Health insists that they are optimistic to start the second dose soon.
Speaking to Citizen TV on phone, chairman of the COVID-19 vaccine taskforce Dr. Willis Akhwale, mentioned that they are exploring other options as a country among them being the African Union.
“It is through this mechanism that we have actively engaged Johnson and Johnson, and we expect to receive 30 million doses in August… additionally, as we seek to reconcile the doses that have not been utilised in the country to maximize on them, we are also through the AU to find if we can secure doses from other African countries, that have doses that are almost nearing their expiration dates, a mechanism seeking to avoid wastage especially during this time of need,” DR. Akwale said.
WHO Director General has appealed to other countries to share the vaccines as deaths and new cases remain at an all-time high.
“Cases and deaths from COVID-19 globally remain at or near record highs and new variants threaten to unravel the gains we have made. the bigger problem is a lack of sharing. so, the solution is more sharing,” he said.
The call that has now seen the United States government promise to share 80 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines in their possession.
Among the vaccines are 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine
“This vaccine is not authorised to be in use in the country yet, but once FDA approves we will send, this is all AstraZeneca that has been produced in the US, all of it will be sent to other countries we will also share, Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson as soon as they become available as well,” President Joe Biden said.
With there being severe supply vaccine constraints owing to slowed production, the Serum Institute of India through a press statement from their chief executive officer, Adar Ponawalla, the institute will continue to scale up and prioritise India.
They also hope to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by the end of the year.
The Kenya National Immunization Technical Advisory Committee will issue advice if it comes to a point where second doses are not available by the 12-week mark.
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