Eager to be vaccinated Kenyans stare COVID-19 jabs shortage

2021-04-26 15:55:34 GMT2021-04-26 23:55:34(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NAIROBI, April 26 (Xinhua) -- When Kenyan banker Caroline Nelima got her COVID-19 jab on April 19, she shared her experiences on a WhatsApp group, drawing greater interest from members.

However, when some of the other members of the group went to the same center for vaccination, they have not been lucky enough to get the vaccine as the east African country faces a shortage of jabs amid a surge in demand.

The Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe noted that Kenya had distributed 1.08 million vaccines as of April 25, leaving only a balance of 40,000 doses at its central stores. With only 40,000 vaccines remaining, thousands of Kenyans, including those who are frontline workers, may not be vaccinated soon.

Now, millions of Kenyans who are eager to get the vaccine have not been able to access it as the country slowly runs out of the 1.2 million jabs it had imported.

By Monday, Kenya had vaccinated 826,617 persons across the country, of which 477, 754 were people aged 58 and above, 152,809 health workers, 128,801 teachers, and 69,253 security agents, said Kagwe in a statement.

The east African nation had ordered some 3.56 million doses from India. However, India suspended vaccine exports as it is facing the worst COVID-19 crisis.

Kenya on April 23 said it expects the next batch of 2.54 million vaccine doses to be available from May, subject to confirmation from India.

Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary for health announced that the government had revised the duration between the administration of the first and second doses from eight to 12 weeks due to the shortage.

Kenyans have thus crossed their fingers, hoping that the vaccines would be available at the promised time so that they can get vaccinated amid the deadly third wave of the virus.

"I am seeing the pain in India and my prayer is that we get the vaccines. I eagerly want to be vaccinated," said Moses Onyango, who works at Huduma Center, a government facility where hundreds of citizens flock for services.

Kenya so far confirmed 156,981 COVID-19 cases, 106,836 recoveries, and 2,643 deaths as of Monday. Enditem