Kenya is among 17 African countries that will receive 6.4 million doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine this month.
This follows the World Bank’s approval of $ 2 billion in funding to the initiative of the Africa Vaccine Procurement Task Force (Avatt) which has secured up to $ 400 million. vaccine doses.
There is a commitment for 220 million more doses with the option of 180 million more. The last shipment is expected in the next two to three weeks.
Kenya’s vaccine working group chairman Dr Willis Akhwale said the actual number of doses the country will receive will be known later. But a few months ago, he said the team had ordered two million doses.
“I’m scheduled for a meeting about this tomorrow [today] and I know they will communicate the final decision they made on the number of doses allocated to Kenya, ”said the president.
The other beneficiaries are Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia and Zambia.
During the virtual meeting of finance and health ministers with the World Bank and Avatt on Sunday, Strive Masiyiwa, the African Union special envoy for Covid-19, said the funding allows countries to buy vaccines via Gavi-Covax.
The organization has been appointed by the World Health Organization to oversee the procurement, allocation and distribution of vaccines in 92 countries that have subscribed to the Covax facility.
“The vaccine will be shipped on a monthly basis. Once a country has fulfilled its ordering obligations, it will receive a schedule of monthly deliveries through Unicef,” Masiyiwa said.
With the funding, African countries should now move faster and apply for funds to ensure their populations are vaccinated, said Dr Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (CEA),
The partnership will accelerate access and deployment of vaccines in Africa, said Axel Van Trotsenburg, managing director of operations at the World Bank.
Money from the World Bank will help countries deploy vaccines effectively, including expanding storage and establishing a cold chain.
Only 17 African countries have ordered and fulfilled all delivery conditions, said Prof Benedict Oramah, president of the African Import-Export Bank.
Some 13 countries have ordered but have not fulfilled all delivery conditions, 12 countries have expressed interest and have not yet committed while 13 countries have not shown any interest.
At the ministers’ meeting, more countries joined in pledging to deliver while others showed interest and pledged to order. The African Union aims to vaccinate 60% of the continent’s population by 2022. Of the deaths from Covid-19 that occurred in June, 99.2% were not vaccinated, said Dr John Nkengasong, director of African Centers for Disease Control. He said 38 countries are experiencing a third wave of the pandemic which is more severe while two, Algeria and Tunisia, are in a fourth wave. Without vaccination, the fourth wave is expected to be worse across the continent
If people in other continents are vaccinated and Africa is left behind, said Botswana Finance Minister Peggy Serame, the intention of the worldwide vaccination campaign will not be realized.
Vaccination certificates, she said, should not be a mandatory requirement for travel or to access other services as this would discriminate against Africans. Kenya had surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases yesterday, recording 203,680 infections, 3,946 deaths and 189,131 recoveries after 2,137,572 tests.
The country has also fully immunized 662,089 people while 1,064,104 are partially vaccinated, according to data from the Ministry of Health.