Counties

County officers to decide J&J Covid jab distribution

COVID-VACCINE

Covid-19 vaccine taskforce chairman Willis Akhwale during a September 7 briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

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Summary

  • Health officials in counties will decide the hospitals that will get the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine as distribution of the shots started Thursday.
  • The Covid-19 taskforce chair Willis Akhwale said the vaccines will be distributed in all 47 counties despite the low dosage that has been received.
  • Kenya received 141,000 doses of the J&J vaccine last week but its distribution was delayed.

Health officials in counties will decide the hospitals that will get the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine as distribution of the shots started Thursday.

The Covid-19 taskforce chair Willis Akhwale said the vaccines will be distributed in all 47 counties despite the low dosage that has been received.

Kenya received 141,000 doses of the J&J vaccine last week but its distribution was delayed.

“We have given the counties a leeway to make the decision on facilities that will receive these doses given that health is a devolved function and we don’t want to decide for them,” said Dr Akhwale

The ministry had earlier indicated that all the consignment of this vaccine would be taken to counties because they do not require a lot of logistics.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is easily stored between two and eight degrees centigrade during administration and can also be frozen at -20 degrees to ensure there is lengthening of shelf-life. The vaccine, therefore requires less logistics and operational cost.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said last week that the single shot vaccine is expected to be of great utility particularly when reaching the primary healthcare level where uptake continues to be low.

“The single dose administration will ensure that this populations will be fully vaccinated quickly. The Ministry of Health will therefore prioritise the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine towards the primary healthcare leve,” said Dr Mwangangi.

The arrival of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine means that the country has now received over four million Covid-19 vaccine doses.

So far 2.8 million vaccines had been administered in the country by last week Friday with 2.2 million being first doses while 809,380 people were fully vaccinated representing a mere 2.97 percent of the entire adult population.

The government plans to vaccinate at least 10 million people by close of the year with 26 million people expected to have received the jab by the end of next year.