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Poisons board sets tough rules for Covid jab importers, distributors

By Reuben Mwambingu
Tuesday, March 30th, 2021
Former MP Alice Ng'ang'a receiving Covid-19 vaccine
In summary
    • Travellers Beach Hotel and Club General Manager Hilary Siele said his hotel incurred Sh4.6 million loss on conferencing and events immediately after the president’s announcement on Friday.
    • Hospitality industry now relying on direct flights from Kisumu and Entebbe plus other counties as the only open source markets after cessation of movement in the five counties left the hotel sector disoriented.
    • Players in the industry were looking forward to a very good Easter, and had 70 per cent projections with a good portion of this 70 per cent being domestic visitors who had scheduled plans from last year.

Manufacturers and dealers hoping to make a kill from importation and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines will take full responsibility should a beneficiary die or develop complications after being administered which their respective products.

This is part of the stringent requirements developed by the government, through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to guide the private sector in the deployment of Covid-19 vaccine, including importation and distribution of the jab.

The jab is in high demand following the outbreak of the vicious third wave that forced President Uhuru Kenyatta last Friday to revise the protocols to avert the spread of the virus.

According to the guidelines signed by the board’s chief executive officer Dr Fred Siyoi, before being authorised to supply the Covid-19 vaccine, dealers will first have to sign documents committing themselves to take the blame should a dose they have shipped into the country or distributed locally kill or cause health complications to beneficiaries.

“The authorised importers (of the vaccine) shall in addition to the requisite importation documents, provide a legally binding document stipulating that they would bear the liability in case persons suffer loss or injury from the use of the vaccine,” reads part of the guidelines dated March 25, 2021.

The “authorised importer” whose list include local technical representative and authorised distributors of the product, will also be required to have a cover of a prescribed amount from a reputable insurance company to ensure compensation in the event of liability attaches as a result of the vaccine.

Further, distributors, who like importers will have to get approval from Emergency Use Authorisation or Registration to the Board, will be required to have an additional requirement to provide a “no-objection letter” from the local representative stipulating the list of specific batches to be imported to ensure that they will be bound by the commitment of the importers.

 This, according to the guidelines, is meant to cushion the government from taking the blame should anything happen to its citizens after getting jabs from private line.

Yesterday, chairman of the Covid-19 taskforce for vaccine deployment and the vaccination process Dr Willis Akhwale maintained that though the government has authorised the importation of the vaccine by private entities, no firm has yet brought it in.

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