A new dawn beckons as 1.25 million Kenyans set to receive COVID-19 vaccine before June 2021

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,29TH JAN,2021-The Ministry of Health has established a taskforce to ensure an expedited deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.

The task force will be chaired by Dr Willis Akhwale and is part of COVAX- a facility intended to ensure low and middle-income nations get access to the vaccines.

Speaking to the media from Afya House on Friday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said several vaccines have already been tested and found to be safe for use.

Kenya will now receive 24 million doses from the COVAX facility and will also get an additional 11 million doses from other mechanisms.

The dosage will vaccinate an estimated 16 million Kenyans- an approximately 30% of the population-for a period of 18 months.

Kenya will be benefiting from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and any other vaccine included in the COVAX facility.

“Given the current global shortage of adequate vaccine stocks, the government is exploring procurement through other mechanisms like the Africa CDC to cover an additional 5 million people,” CS Kagwe said.

To ensure the three-phased vaccination runs smoothly, the government will enlist the services of more than 23,000 healthcare workers, including 8,000 heath volunteers.

In the first phase, a total of 1.25 million people will be vaccinated between February and June 2021; the group will include frontline healthcare workers, and all staff working in medical facilities.

Workers in essential services such as security and immigration will also be prioritized.

Between July 2021 and June 2022- the second phase- 9.7 more Kenyans will be vaccinated with special focus on those above 50 years old and those above 18 years with underlying conditions.

In the third phase, 4.9 million Kenyans- especially the vulnerable populations- will be vaccinated

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