On the 2nd of March 2021, Kenya began a long path in COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The country received 1.02 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford C0VID-19 vaccine. The vaccine arrived through combined efforts of the COVAX facility, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF`s supply division in Copenhagen. The consignment is part of the 3.56 million doses allocation on Kenya on the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. Additionally, the country has received 1,025,000 syringes and 10,250 safety boxes for proper disposal of the equipment after vaccination supported by Gavi.
Over the past months, Kenya and the World Health Organization put in place numerous efforts in preparing for a vaccination rollout. Immediately after Kenya received the vaccine it’s ready to begin vaccinating prioritized groups. The country has a strategic plan that is comprehensive on the vaccination plan to June 2023. Healthcare professionals top the list of those receiving the vaccine followed by security personnel, teachers, and also people living with underlying conditions.
The Kenyan vaccine rollout covers the following areas;
Regulatory preparedness: over and above the regulatory authority done abroad, the vaccine will be expedited for approval in Kenya. The scientists are expected to complete this phase within seven days.
Planning and coordination: the ministry of health is responsible for the vaccine rollout in support of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Vaccination Steering Committee.
Funding: domestic funding will cover 10 percent while Gavi – a global vaccine organization will facilitate covering 20 percent of the population. The first phase of the vaccination program intends to cover 30 percent of the population in regards to currently available vaccine dosages.
Target population and vaccination strategies: the vaccine role out will be done in phase which is: phase one runs from March 2021 to June 2021 covering 1,025,000 within the predisposed workforce. The second phase runs from July 2021 to June 2022 targeting the most vulnerable and elderly in society, 9.79 million people should be vaccinated. The last phase will run from July 2022 to June 2023 targeting a population of 4.9 million people. Limited numbers are experienced in vaccination due to the availability of dosage, storage facilities, and administrative logistics.
Supply chain management: the Oxford vaccine requires storage at a negative temperature which limits the first phase of the rollout. There are intentions of increasing the storage facilities across the country through phases two and three.
Human resource management and training: healthcare workers will be trained physically and virtual through the current workforce within the public and private medics. The World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination guidelines are in place.
Acceptance and update: communication channels are put in place between the national and county governments for a smooth rollout.
Safety monitoring: considering the fragile vaccine rollout, existing systems will be checked regularly and adverse effects dealt with urgently.
Monitoring and evaluation system: this is responsible for ensuring new COVID-19 vaccine approvals are adequately addressed.
Currently, there are three vaccines approved by the WHO; AstraZeneca/Oxford, Pfizer BioNTech, and Moderna. Additional vaccines will require expedition before use in Kenya. The above vaccines are all safe and effective. This cannot be insisted enough because there are mushrooming myths over the vaccine within the African continent.
The first is the spread of a screenshot of a medication labeled “not for distribution in the US, Canada or EU.” The label is misleading because all vaccinations are not produced with the consideration of the region. People need to understand this for effective vaccination and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Secondly, the vaccine causes Down syndrome and genetic defects are wrong. The three vaccines have undergone numerous tests and proven to be effective and safe. Moreover, claims that the vaccine contains heavy metals that would cause mental and physical effects could not be further from the truth.
As the cases continue to rise in Kenya, on March 5th, 2021 there are 320 new infections, 3 people lost their life to coronavirus, and 77 had recovered. Vaccination will lay a critical role in bringing normalcy back in the world at large. It should be clear those spreading myths against the vaccination programs will lead to continued deaths, the vaccination programs experience a negative effect.