Ruto takes Covid-19 jab, opts for Russian Sputnik
Deputy President William Ruto was among the first group of Kenyans to take the Russian-manufactured Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19.
The DP yesterday received the jab at his official Karen residence in Nairobi together with his family.
“Deputy President William Ruto receives Covid-19 vaccine at his Karen office in Nairobi County,” read a dispatch from the Deputy President Press Service (DPPS).
The decision by Ruto to opt for the Sputnik V vaccine might be interpreted as a vote-of-no-confidence in the government-fronted AstraZeneca jab, which is being administered in public and private health facilities across the country for free. Sputnik V costs between Sh8,000 and Sh11,000.
On Friday last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta led some members of the Cabinet and other high-ranking state officials in receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Uhuru directed top government officials to take the vaccine as part of government efforts to bolster confidence in its uptake.
The country is currently vaccinating frontline people including health workers, teachers, security personnel and those aged 58 years and above in the first phase of the vaccination programme after more than one million doses of the AstraZeneca jab were procured and distributed in Kenya by Unicef as part of the global Covax Facility that is spearheaded by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The country is expected to receive 24 million doses of the vaccine.
Other than Ruto, other prominent Kenyans who opted for the Russian jab include prominent city lawyers Ahmednassir Abdulahi and Donald Kipkorir.
In a post in his official Twitter account yesterday, Ahmednassir claimed he was the first Kenyan to receive the jab.
“I am First Kenyan to take the Sputnik V jab in Kenya,” he said.
“Today, I became the Second Kenyan to take the Russia Covid-19 Sputnik V vaccine ... I have full confidence in the vaccine to protect me from all Covid-19 variants,” said Kipkorir, who had contracted the virus a few months ago.
Garrisa Township Member of Parliament Aden Duale on the floor of the House said he will also take the Russian vaccine.
Although it is being administered in the country, Kenya’s Health ministry is on record saying it had not approved its usage.
Last week, the Russian embassy in Nairobi, in a statement revealed that the vaccine would be available in the country.
However, the embassy clarified that all questions relating to the private commercial importation of the vaccine should be directly addressed to its importers.
“The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Kenya hereby underlines that it is the obligation of private importers to strictly follow all the regulations of the Kenyan authorities and act in compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Kenya,” said the statement, adding that the Sputinik V vaccine had been imported by a private entity on a commercial basis.
According to the manufacturers, the Sputnik V vaccine provides 91.6 per cent protection against Covid-19.
Late-stage trial results published in The Lancet also revealed that the shot also offers “complete protection against hospitalisation and death”.
According to the manufacturers, the vaccine is highly effective against the South African and British Covid variants while it is said to be “100 per cent effective” against Covid related complications.
They say the vaccine was formulated using adenovirus technology, which is one of the safest and longest used vaccine technology.
Although it was initially met with some controversy after being rolled out before the final trial data had been released, the Sputnik V vaccine works in a similar way to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab developed in the UK, and the Janssen vaccine developed in Belgium.
It can be stored at temperatures of between 2 and 8C degrees (a standard fridge is roughly 3 to 5C degrees) making it easier to transport and store.