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COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Available In Kenya By February

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Britain approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, jumping ahead of the rest of the world in the race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.

Britain’s move raised hopes that the tide could soon turn against a virus that has killed nearly 1.5 million people globally, hammered the world economy and upended normal life for billions since it emerged in Wuhan, China, a year ago.

Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted emergency use approval to the vaccine developed by Pfizer and German biotechnology partner BioNTech, which they say is 95% effective in preventing illness, just 23 days after Pfizer published the first data from its final stage clinical trial.

Britain said it would start vaccinating those most at risk of dying early next week after it gets 800,000 doses from Pfizer’s manufacturing centre in Belgium.

Kenya is among the 192 countries in search for a vaccine under the Covax programme overseen by the World Health Organisation.

Through Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) Wellcome Trust Kilifi, Kenya is taking part in the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford vaccine trial code-named ChAdOx where 40 participants have volunteered.

However, owing to the dominance of the program by Western countries and America’s refusal to participate in it Kenya is not patient enough to wait as it’s likely for rich countries to have first priorities that would see Kenya wait till 2022 to access affordable vaccine.

Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said away from the ongoing trials, the government is also in talks with other nations to see how Kenya can access the vaccine once it is ready.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the Ministry of Health to look towards China for a COVID-19 vaccine.

She said the vaccine should be available for Kenyans as early as February next year.

Kenya currently has 85,130 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,484 fatalities registered.


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