Nairobi News

HashtagMust Read

Kagwe yet to take Covid-19 vaccine as more countries suspend AstraZeneca

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe is yet to receive his Covid-19 vaccine as more countries across Europe and Asia continue to suspend the drug being administered in Kenya.

On Saturday, CS Kagwe said he would not jump the queue to get vaccinated for the virus because he was not a priority.

“I will not take the vaccine until it gets to my turn on the priority list. If I take it before I will be accused of jumping the queue. If I do not take it, I will be accused of not leading by example. So, I am not sure which is which and that is why I have chosen to await my turn. The worst thing that could happen is if a nurse got Covid-19 because I have taken the vaccine meant for her,” Kagwe said.

His comments came as the clergy called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and members of his cabinet to get a dose of the Coronavirus vaccine in public to reassure Kenyans on its safety.

This comes amid criticism of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and a decision by some nations to halt its usage on fears that those inoculated faced an increased risk of blood clots.

The president flagged off the national distribution of Covid-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University as the national vaccination campaign kicked off a week ago.

Dr Willis Akhwale, Kenya’s vaccine taskforce chairperson, has defended Kenya’s continued use of the jab saying that the suspension is not the same as stopping the use of the vaccine.

“The AstraZeneca vaccine being used in Europe was not made by Serum Institute of India. If we were sharing batch numbers we would also stop it,” he said.

During his 14th presidential address, Kenyatta ruled downplayed fears on the AstraZeneca vaccine’s safety saying its arrival was critical in management and control of the pandemic.

“Kenya is entering a critical phase in the management and control of the pandemic, with the arrival of WHO prequalified Covid-19 vaccines. This vaccine has been tested and our medical experts are persuaded that its safety is bankable,” he said.

The Head of State urged Kenyans to refrain from spreading rumours and half-truths about the vaccine and Covid-19 in general.

“If you have any questions outside policy, with regard to execution and how it will be done, ask the experts. Let us not depend on rumours,” said President Uhuru.

Kenya over a week ago received its first consignment of 1.02 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine from the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access initiative (Covax).

The doses are part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.56 million shots.

In phase one, more than 400,000 health workers countrywide as well as workers in other essential services with the targeted population to be covered in this first phase remains 1.25million who will also include teachers and the police.

Phase 1 will run until June 30 giving way for Phase 2 which will commence thereafter targeting about 9.6 million Kenyans. The next batch of vaccines is, however, expected in the country by the end of March or April.