4,000 Kenyans have received COVID-19 vaccine so far, CAS Mwangangi says

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The Ministry of Health has said approximately 4,000 Kenyans have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus across the country, a week after Kenya got its first batch of the vaccines. 

Appearing before the National Assembly Health Committee on Wednesday, Health CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said that so far, no adverse effects from the vaccine had been recorded.

At the same time, however, she was at pains to explain what would happen if anyone developed or reacted negatively to the vaccine.

During the committee sitting, Vihiga MP Beatrice Adagala had sought to know who would take responsibility if anyone got adversely affected by the vaccine.

According to Mwangangi, Kenya cannot hold any of the vaccine companies liable because the deal was struck between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the companies for the distribution.

“The indemnity guaranteed by WHO and GAVI should there be an adverse effect means for us to know the vaccines are under Emergency Authorization Use, let us remember the vaccine is optional and no one will be forced to get it,” she said.

Kenya received its first batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines on Tuesday, March 2.

Some 400,000 health workers will be given top priority, followed by the elderly and people with existing health conditions.

The vaccines will be distributed to referral hospitals countrywide including level fours and threes and the national government is working with the county governments to ensure seamless operation.

Kenya decided to go ahead with its plan to inoculate its citizens against COVID-19 using AstraZeneca vaccine, dismissing concerns over its efficacy.

South Africa paused the rollout of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University following a small clinical trial that showed it offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the 501Y.V2 variant dominant in the country.

That move will not deter Kenya, which received 1.02 million doses of the vaccine on Tuesday.

“We are going to continue with AstraZeneca because we are doing our own sequencing and we are comfortable to move forward with it,” Health CS Mercy Mwangangi told Reuters.

The World Heath Organisation also issued an advisory telling countries to continue using the vaccine, she said, which further supports the Kenyan government’s position.

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