The Ministry of Health has revealed that Kenya expects to receive a second batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses despite the jab being suspended wholly or in part in at least seven European countries and in DRC Congo over safety concerns.

This comes after Denmark, Norway, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Luxembourg linked blood clots in some recipients to the vaccine.

The Kenyan consignment will be delivered by Gavi-Covax, the Vaccine Alliance, an organisation appointed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to oversee procurement, allotment and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine doses to 92 countries that have signed up for the Covax facility

Speaking to the Nation, Dr Willis Akhwale, Kenya’s vaccine taskforce chairperson, said that they have already distributed 492,000 doses to cater for health workers.

“The next shipment will be here latest by the first week of April but between now and May we expect the second batch of 2.5 million doses,” he said.

Availability challenge

Asked why only the AstraZeneca vaccine is being delivered, Dr Akhwale said the main challenge is availability.

“Gavi does projections and the country chooses, Pfizer and Moderna have been having limited doses but if they become readily available we will pick them. As per the last projection, AstraZeneca was the most readily available,” Dr Akhwale explained.

He reminded Kenyans that suspension is not the same as stopping the use of the vaccine.