Kenya expects 2 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China »Capital News
NAIROBI, Kenya September 11 – Kenya expects 2 million doses of Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to bolster the ongoing vaccination campaign that the World Health Organization (WHO) has described as the only safe way to contain the pandemic.
Officials said the first donation of 200,000 is due this month as the government steps up efforts to vaccinate at least 10 million people by December, according to recent estimates from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya has already approved the use of Sinopharm in addition to Astrazeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna which are already in use. The country is also expecting Pfizer from the United States.
As of September 10, Kenya had vaccinated 3,031,728 people. The country had also registered 242,945 cases and 4,896.
“Kenya has approved Sinopharm. We are confident in its effectiveness since it has been certified by the WHO, ”said Willis Akhwale, who chairs the COVID-19 vaccine working group at the Ministry of Health.
According to the WHO, the Sinopharm product is an inactivated vaccine called SARS-CoV-2 (Vero Cell) vaccine. Its easy storage requirements make it ideally suited for low-resource environments.
It is also the first vaccine that will have a vaccine vial monitor, a small sticker on vaccine vials that changes color when the vaccine is exposed to heat, letting health workers know if the vaccine can be used. safely.
The vaccine has been given to more than 1.9 billion people in China, the only country in the world that has achieved remarkable success in containing the pandemic globally.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to provide vaccines to other countries around the world as a “global public good.”
Officials said the country is already working with African countries such as Morocco to manufacture Sinopharm vaccines on the continent, which will help alleviate the logistical challenges most countries on the continent face, including transportation and costs. higher.
China has so far sent 52 million doses of the vaccine to 37 African countries, including 8 million donated doses, according to Beijing-based Bridge Consulting.
Since last year, China has collaborated with various African countries, including Kenya, through training and provision of medical supplies.
Most recently, Kenya, along with China and 22 other countries, launched the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation aimed at strengthening cooperation on vaccine deployment.
Kenya still maintains a nighttime curfew that starts from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and has restricted public gatherings, although this is often violated by key politicians who continue to organize roadside rallies and welcome large groups with abandon.
Hotels, bars and restaurants must also close at 7 p.m.
According to Dr Patrick Amoth of the Department of Health, the Delta variant is the most prevalent in the country fighting the fourth wave with an increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
“The Delta Variant is the city’s new sheriff. It pushed all of the other variants and is the primary variant in circulation that is causing our fourth wave of the pandemic. The natural evolutionary process of the virus is inevitable and that is why we are on the lookout, ”he said.
He said data sequencing has been crucial for scientists studying the origins of COVID-19 outbreaks and the movement of viral variants in parts of the country.
“We continue to offer monitoring for other new and emerging variants. One of the newer variants is the Mu variant which was first detected in Colombia, Latin America. It has now spread to over 39 countries, ”he said.
“This is a worrying variant because it shows a constellation of mutations that are compatible with increased transmissibility, potential for increased serious disease and vaccine escape.”
Mu, scientifically known as B.1.621, is the latest variant classified as a “variant of interest” by the WHO and has mutations indicating a risk of vaccine resistance, although more studies are needed to better understand it. understand.