Hospitals run out of free jab on day costly Sputnik-V approved

By People Team
Thursday, April 1st, 2021
Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi receives Covid-19 personal protective equipment donations from Iranian Ambassador to Kenya Jafar Marmaki on behalf of the Iranian government at Afya House, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/ALEX MBURU
In summary
    • Entry of Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik-V continued to stir debate in the country
    • Hospitals suspended administering the AstraZeneca on a day that the government authorised the use of the Russian manufactured Sputnik-V vaccine as an additional emergency jab
    • CAS Gideon Mung’aro assured the ministry is addressing land issues in the Coast region.

The entry of Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik-V continued to stir debate in the country yesterday with private hospitals running out of the government funded AstraZeneca.

Several private hospitals across the country, coincidentally, suspended administering the AstraZeneca on a day that the government authorised the use of the Russian manufactured Sputnik-V vaccine as an additional emergency jab despite its controversial entry in the country.

Ministry of Health officials confirmed the inclusion of the Russian vaccine, which is to be rolled out for use officially after the government and private sector finalise a formal engagement plan.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said the ministry will communicate on the identified facilities to offer the vaccine once the partnership framework has been finalised.

“The vaccine has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).

We have been able to engage the distributors to identify the facilities that will be able to offer this vaccine,” Dr Mwangangi said after a meeting with stakeholders at Afya House on its roll out.

The Covid-19 taskforce for vaccine deployment and vaccination chairman, Dr Willis Akhwale, said the vaccine will be made available in facilities that would have been issued with a permit by the PPB.

Top private hospitals

Some of the country’s top private hospitals such as Aga Khan University Hospital, Mater Hospital and Karen Hospital announced through its respective social media accounts that they had stopped the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine because they had run out of stock.

This came as more Kenyans trooped to the designated health facilities providing vaccination across the country in what is seen as a change of heart after initial reluctance. President Kenyatta flagged off the vaccines to the counties on March 6.

This also coincided with the move by top leaders led by President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to take the jab publicly therefore breathing trust and confidence into the process.

“We appreciate Kenyans for turning up in large numbers for the free Covid-19 vaccination under the government programme,” said a message from the Aga Khan Hospital.

“We have temporarily suspended the exercise after depletion of our stocks. We shall announce the resumption of the exercise once we receive more doses from the Ministry of Health,” it said.

Announce commencement

Noting that it had also stopped the exercise, Karen Hospital assured their clients that they will announce commencement of the exercise in due course.

“We are working round the clock to ensure we avail the vaccines,” the hospital said adding that vaccination is based on strict booking criteria. Sputnik-V costs Sh8,000 for a dose. A full dose would therefore cost Sh16,000.

At the same time, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo has written to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board seeking answers on some of the controversies surrounding the entry of the Russian vaccine in the country.

In his letter, the MP wants PPB to state whether the vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the individuals behind its importation and when the application was made, proof of registration of the local pharmacist, the date when its importation was approved and the amount of the vaccine to be imported.

“Some of the preparations liable to registration before use include among others, products claimed to be useful for treating or preventing a disease or alleviating symptoms of a disease.

The Sputnik-V vaccine falls within this category,” Otiende says. But during the ministry’s daily update on Covid-19, Dr Akhwale insisted the vaccine has not received market authorisation and cautioned that any company caught advertising it or doing any marketing will be struck off the list of providers.

“You cannot market a product that is not yet approved for commercial use. This morning, the task force met and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board informed us that they have summoned the distributors of this particular vaccine and they have actually given them a warning in writing and if that kind of marketing continues, they will be in contravention of PPB rules and its emergency use can be withdrawn,” he said yesterday during the daily Covid-19 update. - Report by George Kebaso, David Macharia, Noah Cheploen and KNA

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