Kenya's plan to vaccinate at least 25 million people by the dusk of 2021 has suffered a huge blow.
The state took note of the severe global shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, shelving plans to acquire the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines from Serum Institute in India.
The new vaccines were meant to supplement the Covax and CDC doses to enable the Ministry of Health to meet its set targets.
The government had initially planned to vaccinate 1.25 million people between February and June, 9.7 million between July 2021 and June 2022, and 4.7 million in the final phase which was to run concurrently with phase two totaling 15.8 million people, which translates to 30 percent immunity.
However, the government revised the targets upwards, indicating that it wishes to vaccinate 25 million people by the end of 2021 and 26 million by the end of 2022. A shortage in vaccines, however, threatens realization of these targets.
National Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment chairperson Dr. Willis Akhwale stated that despite Western Countries and India pulling the plug on vaccine imports, Covax Facility and Africa CDC have acquired most of the doses from Serum Institute making it hard for countries to place direct orders.
"It is going to be challenging. This is an option but for later days. The direct bilateral is out of question because the vaccines are now overbooked and we cannot compete with Covax," Akhwale told Daily Nation on April 20, 2021.
The only available vaccine Kenya could procure is Pfizer but the country lacks the facilities to store the vaccines in bulk at between -60 and -80 degrees.
A source at the Ministry of Health privy to the matter has revealed that the government is considering establishing a cold chain to enable it store the delicate jab in bulk.
"We are currently looking at the legal and financial negotiations," the source stated.