Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
National Treasury has set aside Sh7 billion to acquire Covid-19 vaccines for the second phase vaccination.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the money has been allocated in the second Supplementary Budget to be tabled in the National Assembly.
“This funds will be used to acquire additional vaccines for the months of May and June,” CS Yatani told a Senate Health Committee yesterday.
“The vaccines will be acquired through the Covax facility and the money will be paid directly to suppliers and manufacturers,” the CS added.
Yatani noted that the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, which is mandated to procure, warehouse and distribute drugs and medical supplies for prescribed public health programmes, will not be engaged in acquisition of vaccines and its distribution.
In the first phase, the country received over one million AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in two batches.
One batch came via the global Covax initiative, which aimed to provide equal access to vaccines, and a 100,000 shot donation from the Indian government.
First phase was meant to run until the end of June. The initial plan was to vaccinate high priority groups, such as frontline healthcare workers.
However, a few weeks into the rollout, the target group was expanded to include all Kenyans older than 58 years.
This expanded the original target from 1.25 million people to about 3.2 million in the same time period.
Over 750,000 Kenyans have been vaccinated so far, with a total recorded 152,523 Coronavirus cases, 103,838 recoveries and 2,519 deaths.
Last week, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the government was pursuing acquisition of one million doses of vaccines each from Pfizer as well as Johnson & Johnson respectively to supplement Astrazeneca vaccines.
Kagwe said there shall be a delay in delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccines, which have already been rolled out, forcing the government to outsource in other areas.
“The African Union has negotiated with Johnson & Johnson to enable countries purchase the vaccine at discounted prices,” Kagwe said.