The government has ruled out mixing of the approved coronavirus vaccines.
Instead, the Ministry of Health insists that those who received the AstraZeneca jab will have to get the same second dose.
At the same time the Ministry also revised the duration between the administration of the first dose and the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from eight to 12 weeks.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi said that the Ministry of Health revised waiting period is within the efficacy parameters and is also guided by the vaccine shortage worldwide.
“Guidance from WHO and the current evidence, shows that taking the second dose at 12 weeks provides a higher immune response and better protection. With this evidence and considering the ongoing global supply constraints this shift is justified,” said Dr Mwangangi.
“We have noted the concerns from a number of Kenyans who have already received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and are worried if they will receive their second dose as scheduled.”
The prolonged waiting period according to the ministry has been fueled by the current shortage being experienced following suspension of exportation of the jab by India to first cater for its domestic needs.
Dr Mwangangi noted that the government of Kenya and the COVAX Facility (a coalition led by WHO and Gavi that aims to help countries get equitable access to vaccines) want to assure Kenyans that we are doing everything possible to address these delays in delivery and to ensure that the second dose is administered as soon as possible.
The COVAX Facility’s current forecast is that additional doses will be available in May, pending further confirmation from India said CAS Mwangangi.
So far, 1,020,000 doses out of the planned 3,564,000 doses have been delivered to Kenya.
The ministry health assuring that the revision will not affect the efficacy and response of the jab.
As of Saturday, the government has vaccinated 822, 651 persons against COVID-19.
This number comprises of targeted groups including health care workers, security personnel, teachers and people aged over 58 years.
Out of 208,418 health workers targeted for vaccination, 152, 469 (73%) have received their first dose while out of 330,671 teachers targeted 126,322 (38%) and 66,677 security personnel have so far been vaccinated.
“We continue to urge those who are in these target groups and have not yet been vaccinated to do so at the various centers across the country.
Vaccination provides vital protection from COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” said Mwangangi.
This even as the country recorded 1,153 new coronavirus cases from 9316 samples tested in 24 hours representing a 12.4 per cent positivity rate.
During the same period the country lost 20 patients taking to death toll 2,603.
Currently, 1453 patients are admitted in various hospitals with 210 being in the Intensive Care Unit.