Cartels have continued making an income by selling and distributing vaccines, openly defying Health CS Mutahi Kagwe's direct orders.
Kagwe, on Friday, April 2, banned the importation and distribution of vaccines by the private sector. He specifically banned the administration of the Russian Sputnik V Vaccine until further notice.
Data by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) indicated that by the time the vaccine was banned, only 228 Kenyans had received the Russian vaccine. Kagwe had directed that these were the only individuals eligible for the second dose after 21 days.
"The rest of the doses can be sold to other countries. There will be no licensing of private players in the importation of vaccines and any such licence given will be and is hereby terminated," Kagwe ordered.Deputy 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.
Sources at the Pharmacy & Poisons Board, however, disclosed that the number of those vaccinated with the first dose rose from 228 to nearly 1,300 after Kagwe's ban.
Private clinics which had been banned from distributing the vaccine were suspected to have continued selling the doses. Insiders alleged that there may be plans to import another consignment.
The government favoured the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, with Kagwe praising its efficiency and availability. However, the ministry is grappling with the importation of the vaccine after India temporarily halted the vaccine exports.
India was hit by a severe third Covid-19 wave with at least 300,000 new infections every day in the last weeks of April 2021, with more than 360,000 new cases in the past 24 hours on Wednesday, April 28. The number of fatalities rose to 300,000 with authorities fearing that the deaths may be more than that.
Speaking on Citizen TV on Monday, April 26, Health CS Kagwe stated that the ministry was contemplating importing any other vaccine that has been authorised by the World Health Organisation but was hopeful that they would get the AstraZeneca vaccine in 3 months.
"Even if you have one dose, you are better off as you have up to 60 percent protection. There is no vaccine approved by WHO for emergency rollout that is off the table for Kenya. What is off the table is the use/distribution of the vaccine via the private sector.
"We are looking at Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and even Sputnik. There has been a huge debate on whether you can take another vaccine different from the one you took as the first dose. Originally, the informed decision was that you take the same vaccine but we are now hearing that you can gain more from taking two different doses," Kagwe divulged adding that the doctors will clarify more before such a decision is made.
Over 1 million Kenyans have so far been vaccinated. Kagwe added that they are targetting vaccinating nearly 30 million individuals.President Uhuru Kenyatta receiving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on March 26, 2021 at State House, Nairobi.PSCU
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