Task Force says Kenya to start vaccinations for people under age 18

Task Force says Kenya to start vaccinations for people under age 18
FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of the Pfizer logo in this illustration taken February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Children under the age of 18 years could be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting January next year.

Dr. Willis Akhwale who chairs the National Task Force on Vaccine deployment however says they are waiting for the approval of the pharmacy and poisons board on the use of Pfizer which is permitted for the younger populations.

This will be the third phase of the mass vaccination programme as the country seeks to have most of its population vaccinated before the elections.

Since the government rolled out its mass vaccination program across the country, an estimated 3.51 million Kenyans representing 3.2 percent of the population have so far been vaccinated, 2.63 million of these having received the first dose while some 876,015 fully vaccinated.

“By the end of the year we shall have vaccinated 10 million Kenyans and by the end of 2022 we shall have vaccinated 27 million Kenyan,” Acting Director General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth said.

Dr. Akhwale says in the third phase of vaccination they are targeting to vaccinate 27 million kenyans by 2022, out of these is a crucial population of children between 16 and 18 years who will receive the Pfizer vaccine which has been approved by the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) for use among the young adults.

And as the government ramps up its vaccination effort Dr. Akhwale revealed that they will be increasing the number of the approved vaccination centres and facilities from 800 to 3,000 by December this year and to 7,877 by June next year.

“The vaccines that are in Kenya the registration that are with the pharmacy board has used data that was presented by who and based on that they say the aged group that will be vaccinated.,” Dr Akhwale said.

“It is important to note that Sinopharm cannot be used in persons above fifty years while all the others can be used in persons above 18 years. And Pfizer which was first registered in the US allows use above 16 year.”

Dr. Akhwale however says they are waiting for the authorisation of use of pfizer by the pharmacy and poisons board.

On Friday last week Kenya received 795,600 doses of Pfizer vaccine from gavi, the vaccine alliance. its distribution has however not yet begun due to the complex storage conditions it requires, it must be stored at minus 70 degrees celsius…Dr. Akhwale however revealed that its distribution will begin next week…

To encourage the vaccination of the pastoralist community, the government will prioritise the distribution of the johnson and johnson vaccine to those areas since it’s only requires the administration of one dose.

“We are prioritising the single shot johnson and johnson jab so that we can be able to reach them…”Dr. Patrick Amoth – Ag. Director General, MOH said.

This as the country’s caseload rose further as 317 new cases were confirmed from 6,129 samples indicating a 5.2 % positivity rate.

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