State to procure 13m doses of J&J vaccine

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 00:00 |
A police officer guards a consignment of AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine donated by Denmark at the JKIA in Nairobi on Monday evening. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

With Covid-19 cases on sharp increase in the last one month, the government is scheduled to procure 13 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine worth Sh10 billion as it races against time to contain the pandemic.

Consignment of the vaccines, to be procured through the African Union (AU) platform, is expected in the country by August.

AU has been exploring possibilities of procuring Johnson and Johnson vaccines after initial plans to secure AstraZeneca jabs from the Serum Institute of India through the Covax mechanism ran into headwinds  because of high demand following the recent spike of Covid-19 cases in the Asian country.

Addressing the press  on Monday night after receiving a donation of 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from Denmark, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the 10 million doses would heighten Kenya’s campaign to attain herd immunity.

“Since Johnson and Johnson is a one-dose vaccine, the anticipated consignment will notably propel the vaccination process in Kenya and help us attain herd immunity,” the PS noted.

Finalising payment

Sources at Afya House intimated to People Daily Kenya expects to buy Johnson and Johnson vaccines at between $7 and $8 (Sh756 and Sh864 ) per dose. The price has dropped from $10 (Sh1,080) per dose about a month ago.

Already, the government has drawn a letter of commitment to the manufacturers through the AU and is in the process of finalising payment.

“The process is quite lengthy and tedious. But we have finalised the nitty gritties involving the legal aspects of the deal,” said Dr Willis Akhwale, chairman of the Covid-19 vaccine deployment.

Mochache disclosed the country had almost run out of AstraZeneca vaccine by the time it received the donation from Denmark. Only 5, 000 doses were remaining on the shelves by Monday night.

“Had we not received this consignment, we would have no vaccines to issue in the next few days,” she stated.

She was in the company of Danish ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke, the, Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba, acting Health Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth, Dr Akhwale and Maniza Zaman and Dr Rudi Eggers, representatives of Unicef and World Health Organisation (WHO) to Kenya, respectively.

“There has been a high demand for vaccines in this second round of the vaccination campaign, which saw our stocks utilised to the maximum,” the PS added.

“The government is very grateful to Denmark for this generous donation, which will support the further roll-out of our national Covid-19 vaccination programme,” PS Mochache said.

International solidarity

This, she said, comes at a critical time when the country had embarked on the second round of vaccinating the population.  “It will ensure our health workers and other persons playing a critical role in our country are protected, and that hospitals and health centres across Kenya will be able to continue providing the much-needed care to people affected by Covid-19,” she added.

The ambassador said his government released the vaccines because it had managed to lower Covid-19 infections after conducting a successful mass testing and immunisation campaign.

“International solidarity is so important during this global pandemic,” he stated.

He lauded the Kenya government for being proactive in reaching out to other co

The plane carrying the vaccines landed at JKIA at 9:35pm through the logistical facilitation of the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (Unicef). Namwamba urged Kenyans to take the vaccination programme seriously. 

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