Editor's Review

  • The CS says focus should be on treating the virus.
  • This comes after Pfizer announced its vaccine was 90% effective. 

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has expressed his reservation on the Pfizer vaccine for the coronavirus. 

This is after American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that its Covid-19 vaccine was about 90% effective. 

Speaking on Wednesday, Kagwe stated that his reservations are based on the vaccine's effectiveness in preventing infection. 

According to Kagwe, more focus should be put on treating the virus rather than preventing it. 

He noted that at the moment, it is hard to tell which people will be compatible with the vaccine hence hopes should not be higher. 

The CS added that the focus should be on treatment since it will take years for the vaccine to be available to [developing countries. 

"We have to work with a worst case scenario...I have got my many doubt about it. We are talking about a vaccine that stops you from getting infected. Now I would like to know how they know I was going to get the virus. When I have a virus, when it goes down I can understand the measures but how can I know you prevented it...for me I have my own reservations," said Kagwe. 

The CS was speaking on Wednesday before the Senate health committee.

Kagwe was invited to shed more light on the cost of treating Covid-19 and the contentious issue of PPEs. 

During the session, Kagwe stated that NHIF and other private insurers would not cover Covid-19 patients because it's not sustainable in the long run.

He also ordered the Kenya Medical Supply Agency (Kemsa) to release PPEs and masks to counties.

The equipment has been lying idle at the Kemsa warehouse, while some counties had recorded shortages. 

"I have written to Kemsa to allow to release masks and PPEs at the current market rate instead of holding them," he said.

They were among the items Kemsa acquired in its overdrive procurement at exorbitant prices only for the market cost to drop months later.