Kenya receives 880,000 Moderna vaccine doses from US
Kenya on Monday morning received 880,000 doses of Moderna vaccine from the US, a boost to the ongoing nationwide vaccination programme.
The delivery, which arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport around 6.15am, follows President Joe Biden’s announcement early this year that Washington DC would share 80 million doses from America’s own stock.
This batch is part of 1.7 million doses that the US promised to donate to Kenya and is being delivered via the Gavi-Covax facility.
Speaking while receiving the donation from the US, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the arrival of the Moderna vaccine marks another important milestone in the fight against Covid-19.
She said this is the second type of vaccine to be deployed in this country after AstraZeneca.
The PS revealed that so far, almost 1.6 million people in Kenya have received their first dose of AstraZeneca, with 780,000 being fully vaccinated.
Single day record
She added that 70,000 people were vaccinated on Friday, a record in a single day.
“We remain focused in protecting those who are at risk of getting affected by Covid-19,” Ms Mochache said.
The PS also revealed that Covid-19 case fatality has reduced to 2 per cent from 2.1 per cent.
“We hope to reduce this further by maintaining the vaccination effort,” she said.
“We must continue to prioritise the elderly because data has shown that most deaths are from that age group. We hope to vaccinate 10 million Kenyans by end of this year and another 26 million by next year.”
She urged county governments to support efforts by the national government by mobilising communities at the grassroots levels to take the vaccines.
“No vaccine is superior to the other; we shall not be emphasising on the brand names. Don't wait for a particular brand of vaccine, the best vaccine is the one that is available,” said the Health PS.
The Moderna vaccine doses received on Monday are the first batch of the donation from the US via the Covax facility. The next consignment will arrive in September.
Kenya has so far received 3,610,100 doses of Covid-19 vaccines.
Last week, the country received a donation of 407,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK.
In June, the US listed Kenya among recipient nations of the 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses to be delivered in August.
According to the Health ministry, at least 754,542 people had received their second doses by Tuesday last week.
A total of 2,374,197 vaccine doses have been administered, with 1,595,335 people getting the first dose.
“We are mounting a comprehensive response on Covid-19, vaccines and all the issues related [to it],” the US said in an official briefing.
Monday’s delivery comes amid a raging debate on safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, including Moderna.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Moderna vaccine, which it recommended for people above 18 years, has registered cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults.
“Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults have been reported more often after getting the second dose than after the first dose of one of the two mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna,” CDC highlights on its official website.
“These reports are rare and the known and potential benefits of Covid-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis”.
MRNA stands for messenger RNA (mRNA), the genetic material that tells your cells how to make proteins.
Vaccines are either classified as mRNA or viral vector. The difference is that mRNA is surrounded by tiny lipids (fatty molecules) which help it enter directly into your cells, and once your cells create the spike proteins, your body breaks down the mRNA.
For viral vector vaccines, spike protein DNA is placed inside a modified version of a different virus that doesn’t cause illness.
This non-harmful virus delivers the DNA instructions to your cells. This virus is called the vector.