Kenya receives 795,000 Pfizer vaccines

Kenya receives 795,000 Pfizer vaccines

The Pfizer vaccines are the fourth brand to be available in Kenya.

Photo credit: Pool

The first consignment of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday. The 795,000 doses were donated by the US government.

Jean Lokenga, the Unicef Kenya deputy representative, said another 1.24 million doses will arrive in the coming weeks.

The vaccines are the fourth brand to be available in Kenya, besides AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna. " I would like to emphasise that all WHO and Government of Kenya approved vaccines are safe and effective," said Jean.

She explained that in a bid to enable the use of Pfizer vaccines in Kenya, Unicef recently procured 12 ultra-low temperature freezers and accessories with funding from the Government of Japan. "We also supported their installation at the central depot in Kitengela plus eight regional depots and have trained technicians in their maintenance and operation. This ensures that the Ministry of Health can store vaccines that require very low temperatures, including the Pfizer vaccine."

The Pfizer vaccine is administered via intra-muscular injection. According to its manufacturer, this particular vaccine has 95 per cent effectiveness.

Pfizer needs to be stored at extremely cold temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius. With the freezers, the shelf-life of the vaccines can be guaranteed for six months.

Common side effects after injection include headache, joint aches,muscle aches, pain at the injection site, tiredness, chills, fever and swelling at the injection site.

WHO says that the vaccine has been found to be safe and effective in people with various conditions that are associated with increased risk of severe disease.These include hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pulmonary, liver or kidney disease, as well as chronic infections that are stable and controlled.

"A protective effect starts to develop 12 days after the first dose, but full protection requires two doses which WHO recommends be administered with a 21 to 28-day interval. Additional research is needed to understand longer-term potential protection after a single dose. It is currently recommended that the same product should be used for both doses," says WHO

According to the Health ministry, 3.3 million vaccines have so far been administered.