Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe now says a video clip capturing him expressing reservations on the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been taken out of context.
In a statement issued Wednesday evening amid heavy backlash triggered his remarks, the CS said his remarks were in line the doubts that have been publicly cast by global experts on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
“My attention has been drawn to a short video clip from an internal broad discussion about vaccines in which I appear to be skeptical about the efficacy of vaccines and how they work. This clip has been taken out of context as it was specifically directed at reports of Pfizer developing a vaccine that is reported to be 95% effective; this response is driven by the reaction of top medics and if well guided, perhaps we all should share in it,” said CS Kagwe.
He went further to state that the government would not spend taxpayers’ money in acquiring a vaccine that is not globally and scientifically acceptable.
“It is my assertion that in the absence of certainty — and in response to the doubts that have been publicly cast by global experts — we will not commit the Kenyan taxpayers money to pre-order vaccine candidate with little if any peer-reviewed evidence supporting their efficacy. We should instead wait for globally & scientifically acceptable vaccines. We are on the side of caution,” he said.
“As a Ministry, we are cognizant of the fact that there are several vaccine candidates already at the advanced clinical trial Stage 3. We are monitoring them with a view of protecting Kenyan lives and availing the safest options at the soonest appropriate time.”
The CS expressed his reservations while delivering a status report to the Senate on the fight against COVID-19 in the country, saying he has “many doubts” about how the Pfizer-developed vaccine will combat the virus.
“Yesterday Pfizer said there is a vaccine but personally to tell you the truth I got my many doubts about it. they were talking about a disease that stops people from getting the virus. I would like to know how they knew in the first place that I was going to get the virus. When I have the virus and it goes down I can understand the major, but when you tell me that I stopped you from getting the virus how do you know I was going to get the virus in the first place. I have got my reservations,” said Kagwe.
The Health Cabinet Secretary’s remarks on the vaccine, which has been hailed across the globe as a milestone in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic, seemed to have angered many Kenyans online.
A majority of Kenyans took to social media to troll CS Kagwe for his point of argument and quick move to cast doubt on the groundbreaking research that sent message of hope to the world.
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