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Kenya receives first batch of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Friday evening received the first consignment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, consisting of 141,600 doses, to intensify the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program.

The ministry said in a statement that the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine which landed in Nairobi on Friday evening is the third vaccine in Kenya’s program with AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines already being administered in the country.

Mercy Mwangangi, Health Chief Administrative Secretary who received the shipment in Nairobi said the arrival of the vaccine doses will boost ongoing vaccination drive that targets 10 million adult Kenyans by the end of 2021.

“The single dose administration will ensure that these populations will be fully vaccinated quickly. The ministry will therefore prioritise the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine toward the primary healthcare level,” said Mwangangi, who represented health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

She said that the country will continue to carry out targeted approaches as well as employ a hybrid approach when it comes to outreach programs as it seeks to reach as many people as possible.

The Kenyan official said the single-shot vaccine is expected to be of great utility particularly when reaching the primary healthcare level of the country’s health system where the uptake of the vaccine continues to be low.

The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine means that the country has now received a total of 4.21 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Kenya has approved China’s Sinopharm vaccine as the country intensifies the fight against COVID-19 targeting high-risk groups.

The government plans to vaccinate 10 million people by the end of the year, with 26 million people expected to be vaccinated by the end of next year. 

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