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Use of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine not approved in Kenya, says CAS

By Roy Lumbe
Thursday, March 25th, 2021
Covid-19 vaccination.
In summary

The government yesterday said it had not approved the Russian-made Sputnik V CPVOD-19 vaccine for emergency use in the country. 

Ministry of Health top brass revealed that though the vaccine shipment was already in the country, the same was yet to be submitted to Kenya’s drug regulatory authority, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB). 

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi noted that a technical agreement stipulating the responsibilities of all parties involved in the distribution was yet to be received by relevant agencies. 

She was categorical that the vaccine had not been cleared for use in inoculating Kenyans adding that all vaccines must meet the regulatory requirements set in the country. 

“The vaccine has not received all the necessary regulatory approvals for use in the country, such a vaccine must be registered for emergency use locally by our own Pharmacy and Poisons Board,” said Mwangangi. 

Mwangangi said any vaccine distributed in Kenya must have emergency use authorisation from a formal regulatory agency including the World Health Organisation (WHO).  

The ministry’s position contradicted media reports to the effect that the PPB had given the Russian vaccine an “Emergency Use Approval” through a private pharmacy which had already imported it.

Reports claimed the vaccine, which will require two doses for maximum protection, will be sold at Sh5,500 a dose and Sh11,000 for the two jabs.

The reports quoted the distributor stating that two doses will be booked and paid upon confirmation of the order. 

Mwangangi was, however, quick to point out that the Kenyan government was ready to collaborate with all stakeholders with regard to provision and deployment of vaccines for the sake of the people. 

“We have already made it clear that we are ready to accept any vaccines not just the AstraZeneca which is currently in use but this must follow all the laid down rules and procedures for approval both locally and globally,” she said. 

At the same time, the Health CAS disclosed that a good number of Kenyans have been turning up for vaccination.  

Scramble for vaccine

However, there is a concern given that of the people turning up are not on the priority list on the ongoing phase of vaccination and hence threaten to present a challenge in the deployment plan. 

“We advise all members of society not eligible for vaccination in the first phase to await their turn in a moment we receive adequate doses. When the time comes, we shall announce this accordingly,” she pleaded.  She allayed fears that the exercise was marred by chaos saying all was moving on smoothly without hitches as earlier planned. 

She noted that the programme is informed by a clear deployment plan managed by the vaccine taskforce at the national level. 

“This plan remains on course and is supported by an extremely robust IT system that is assisting with the capturing of data on all vaccinations taking place,” she said. 

Mwangangi revealed that as at yesterday, the country had vaccinated 64,000 having an average of 10,000 vaccinations administered in the last two days. 

She noted that they are targeting to be vaccinating at least over 20,000 people daily. 

At the same time, she revealed that the country’s total Covid-19 fatalities rose to 2,066 after 18 more patients succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours.  

Yesterday, 1,540 new virus cases were recorded out of a sample size of 9,348 pushing the total confirmed positive cases to 124,707.