Government Warns of Disease Outbreaks After Nationwide Vaccine Outage

William Ruto
President William Ruto receiving a Covid-19 Vaccine (alleged to be Russian Sputnik V) jab at his residence in Karen, Nairobi on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Kenyans have been warned of potential disease outbreaks after the government announced a nationwide outage of vaccines in hospitals.

The Ministry of Health in a statement noted that while most vaccine stocks were already out, the remaining stock could only last for two to three months.

Among the critical vaccines whose stocks have run out include Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), Oral Polio, and Measles-Rubella.

Meanwhile, stock levels for routine childhood vaccines such as Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, HPV, and Malaria could only last for three months.

Vaccine Administration
A nurse administering a vaccine to a baby at a Nairobi hospital on April 16, 2021.

According to the Ministry of Health, the stockouts could plunge the country to a risk of vaccine-preventable diseases and lead to potential outbreaks.

However, the Ministry noted it had put in place stringent measures to ensure there was a seamless supply of vaccines to all hospitals countrywide.

“Recognizing that immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, we are committed to ensuring a consistent and uninterrupted supply of vaccines,” the Ministry announced.

"Kenya has benefited from a robust immunization system for over 44 years, and we are dedicated to ensuring future generations enjoy full and healthy lives."

The Ministry stated that it had begun facilitating redistribution between counties as part of the measures to curb the outage.

"The National Vaccines and Immunization Program (NVIP) is redistributing current stocks of available routine vaccines across the country to ensure eligible children do not miss vaccinations," the Ministry of Health stated.

Ksh1.2 billion has also been set aside to urgently procure routine antigens and replenish vaccines in all hospitals.

According to the Health Ministry, the new stock of vaccines is set to arrive in the country by the first week of June 2024.

"We urge all caregivers to liaise closely with their healthcare providers and bring their children back to the facilities once stock levels have normalized."

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha during a Ministry event on March 5, 2024.
Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha during a Ministry event on March 5, 2024.