The government on Thursday said that the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in the country in the first week of March and it will be given in order of priority.
Top on the list of those who will be vaccinated are healthcare workers, teachers, vulnerable persons, security personnel as well as employees of hospitality companies such as hotels.
“Cabinet ratified the distribution framework for the vaccines; with first priority being given to health care workers, frontline workers including security personnel and teachers, vulnerable persons and groups and hospitality sector workers,” a statement from State House read in part.
The statement, however, did not reveal the details of the type of vaccines or the quantity of the doses that will arrive next month.
There are fears that those with deep pockets might jump the queue leaving millions of other Kenyans vulnerable, even as the government insists that this will be done under strict regulations.
“The government will see if some of the market buyers will be given authorisation, but they will be under close watch,” said Dr Willis Akhwale, the chair of the Covid-19 vaccine advisory taskforce.
Mr Akhwale, added that the country was fully prepared to inoculate its citizens against the virus.
“Immediately the vaccines arrive, we are ready to start vaccination. The infrastructure that was set up to handle immunization against measles, yellow fever, and whooping cough gives us a head start in Covid-19 vaccination,” he said.
Dr Akhwale said that about 20 percent of the Kenyan population will be inoculated when the first batch of vaccines arrive in the country.
In January, the health ministry said that it was seeking an extra 11 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, on top of 24 million already ordered that it planned to source from major pharmaceutical manufacturers like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
It said then that the extra doses will be acquired through the African Union’s disease control and prevention body.
As of February 25, Kenya had recorded a total of 1,847 deaths from Covid-19 and 105,057 confirmed cases.
Only a few nations in Africa have begun administering vaccines and the country plans to offer the Covid-19 vaccine shots free of charge to its citizens.
The country is racing to vaccinate 1.25 million in phase one of the campaign by June.
The second phase would involve 9.7 million people, comprising those above 50 years and those above 18 with underlying medical conditions between July and next June.