Friday, December 25, 2020 – Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe, has said the National Emergency Response Committee responsible for the Covid-19 guidelines has settled on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Kenya.

This is because it can be stored in the normal refrigerators within Kenya’s cold chain. Most vaccines are sensitive to heat and become useless if their temperature is not controlled.

The temperature-controlled transport and storage of vaccines are referred to as the ‘cold chain’. The Oxford vaccine can be stored at a ‘fridge temperature’ (2-8 degrees Celsius) and distributed using existing logistics.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which have been given emergency authorisation in some countries, require ultra-cold conditions to be effective. Transporting them around Kenya, especially to remote areas, would be a nightmare.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius. Moderna’s must be stored at -20 degrees Celsius.

Once Kenya receives its vaccine through the Gavi-led Covax Facility, the next headache will be delivering it around the country and getting adults to be vaccinated.

The first beneficiaries of the vaccine will be the 430,000 frontline health workers in both public and private facilities, representing one percent of the 53 million population.

The elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions will be next and this will continue until 20 percent of the population is vaccinated in 2021.


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