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Pharmaceutical Society warns influencers against marketing brands of Covid-19 vaccines

The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) on Tuesday cautioned the public against what it termed as unauthorised marketing of covid-19 vaccines to the public on social media.

PSK said it was aware that some influential personalities in the country were engaging in what amounted to popularisation of certain vaccine brands, arguing that this is dangerous.

“Our attention has been drawn to personalities marketing brands of the Covid-19 vaccine to the public through their social media pages,” said PSK President Louis Machogu.

He termed it unethical and disallowed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board regulations.

“The said marketing could also inadvertently lead to increase in proliferation of fake medicines in the country,” Dr Machogu said.

The PSK boss further cautioned Kenyans on cases of global trade in fake Covid-19 vaccines that target popularised brands.

Even though the body did not mention anyone, the statement appears to be a response to a move by prominent lawyers Ahmednasir Abdullahi alias Grand Mullah and Donald Kipkorir to publicise their vaccinations on Tuesday.

“We do not want to see the public exploited, times are hard and trying enough as it is already,” he added.

In their official Twitter handles, the two lawyers posted their images while receiving the Ruasian Sputnik V vaccine.

On Tuesday, the Russian Embassy in Nairobi announced a private entity imported Sputnik V to Kenya on a commercial basis but did not reveal the identity of the said private entity.

Last week, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) granted Emergency Use Approval to a private pharmacy, making Sputnik V the first private vaccine consignment in the country.

But on Tuesday, acting Director-General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth told MPs that the Russian vaccine was yet to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Amoth said the jab was yet to be pre-qualified by WHO, meaning it may take longer to be approved for emergency use in Kenya as it had not met the required standards.

He, however, stated that it was possible for a vaccine to be used without the approval of WHO provided it had passed other stringent tests.

According to the importers, Kenyans will part with up to Sh11,000 to get the requisite two shots of the vaccine, administered 21 days apart.