On the GOK Ministry of Health website, the Kenyan government says that it is committed to fully vaccinate the entire population of adults by June 2022.
The first vaccine to be authorized for use in the country was the Oxford, AstraZeneca brand. Other brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna and Sinopharm from China, were also approved for use in the country soon after. All vaccines have been made available to Kenyans for free at vaccination centers across the country.
The early stages of the vaccine development saw some members of the public lose confidence in the process as there were several reported cases of extreme and even fatal side effects associated with the Oxford, AstraZeneca drug.
Norway, Austria, and the Netherlands were the first countries to discontinue the rollout of the vaccine on March 7th after reports emerged of blood clots and cardiovascular related illnesses in patients who had received the vaccine. Majority of European Union countries followed suit later on in March, led by France and Italy.
In most cases of extreme reaction to the drug, the vaccine was found to cause blood clots in the patient’s blood leading to cardiovascular strain leading to cardiovascular failure, stroke, and even death in some. Most of the seriously affected were elderly people and people living with pre-existing heart problems.
Despite the risks associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, Kenya, like many other countries around the world, did not stop the vaccine rollout process. This move was supported by the World Health Organization who urged countries to continue using the vaccine.
The statement from the WHO on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine states that cases of extreme side effects were rare and isolated incidents, and that they could not all be clearly linked directly to the vaccine. The statement further warns that the risks of not being vaccinated further outweigh the risk of suffering side effects from the jab.
Some Kenyans who were worried about the safety of the free vaccines opted for a Russian vaccine dubbed Sputnik V which was also briefly approved for use in the country before imports were banned in April after the Kenyan Ministry of Health cited a lack of transparency and accountability in the importation process. Kenyan Health Minister, Mutahi Kagwe in April told reporters that large shipments of the drug were being handled by private companies, adding that many such shipments were unlicensed and could be potentially dangerous because they might be counterfeit.
A single dose of the vaccine was being sold for as much as 7,900 shillings or approximately 70 USD, making the full required double dose cost around 16,000 shillings or approximately 150 USD. Despite the few minor setbacks and complications in the vaccine rollout process, many Kenyans have gone on to get vaccinated and more are still in line to ensure their safety against the Covid-19 virus.
With the emergence of the more deadly Delta variant of the virus MOHK has reported a significant increase in the number of people turning up at vaccination centers across the country. Dr. Willies Akhwale, Kenya’s vaccination taskforce chairman, says they are aiming at vaccinating 10 million Kenyans by the end of this year. So far they have managed to vaccinate 2.5 million people in the country, including those who have only received the first dose.
Members of the public have mixed thoughts about the safety and necessity of receiving the vaccine but the overwhelming majority believes that it is necessary in combating the spread of the pandemic, and they trust assurances from the authorities that the vaccines are safe.
Here are a few remarks from Kenyans on Twitter regarding the safety of the vaccine, and their support or skepticism about the rollout process:
Dr. Catherine Kyobutongi, the Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), cheered on the government for the progress they were making in the vaccination exercise.
Jeff Bezos will spend $1 billion to conserve land and aquatic ecosystems, according to an announcement Monday from the Bezos Earth Fund, the Amazon founder’s $10 billion environmental philanthropy.
The new pledge brings the Earth Fund’s commitment thus far to nearly $2 billion, including more than $200 million in grants announced earlier this month, largely targeting grassroots environmental justice groups.
The Earth Fund will concentrate on ecosystems in the Congo Basin, the tropical Andes and the tropical Pacific Ocean, and aim to support Indigenous peoples and local communities who often bear the brunt of stewarding such conservation efforts. The vast majority of the world’s biodiversity is located in tropical regions, leading some scientists to argue that conservation efforts should be focused there rather in temperate zones.
In a statement, Bezos lauded the centuries-long march of scientific and technological progress as resulting in lower global poverty rates and infant mortality, and increased life expectancies and educational attainment.
“But there is a notable exception,” he said. “The natural world is not better today than it was 500 years ago, when we enjoyed unspoiled forests, clean rivers, and the pristine air of the preindustrial age. We can and must reverse this anomaly. By coming together with the right focus and ingenuity, we can have both the benefits of our modern lives and a thriving natural world.”
Bezos also challenged others “to make their own pledges to protect and conserve nature and help in the fight against climate change. A job this big needs many allies.”
Earlier Monday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced that he has raised more than $1 billion in corporate backing for Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, his vehicle funding clean energy startups. The Seattle Times
Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye. PHOTO: Tchandrou Nitanga/AFP
Nairobi – At least two people were killed and a number of others were wounded when a grenade exploded in a bar in Burundi's capital Gitega on Sunday evening, a police source said.
The blast occurred a day after a series of mortar shells were fired at the airport in the economic hub of Bujumbura in an attack claimed by a rebel group.
A security source told AFP on condition of anonymity: "A grenade was thrown last night in a bar run by a police officer where many officials and members of the ruling party were gathered"
A police officer said the blast killed two people on the spot, while eight people were being treated in medical facilities in Gitega.
The attack was confirmed to AFP by two witnesses, who said that many people were injured.
Late on Saturday, the airport came under attack a day before President Evariste Ndayishimiye was due to fly out for the UN General Assembly in New York, without causing any victims or damage.
'Enemies of peace'
The RED-Tabara rebel group, which is accused of being behind many deadly attacks or ambushes across the country since 2015, claimed responsibility in a statement on Twitter.
No Burundian official wanted to comment publicly on the latest incidents and official media was also instructed not to refer to them.
A senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity: "All these attacks are launched by the enemies of peace to show that insecurity reigns in Burundi at a time when his Excellency President Evariste Ndayishimiye is going to New York for his biggest visit since he became head of state in Burundi."
"But they will not go far because the situation is under control."
RED-Tabara, which has its rear base in South Kivu in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, emerged 10 years ago and is now the most active of Burundi's rebel groups.
In 2020, it claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in which it said more than 40 people were killed among security forces and the youth league of the ruling CNDD-FDD party.
The Burundian government and many diplomats believed at the time that the rebel group, which has between 500 and 800 men, was led by one of the fiercest opponents of the state, Alexis Sinduhije, which he has always denied. - AFP/News24
Some 32 parliamentarians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have died of Covid-19 since the virus was first reported in the country in March 2020, the speaker of the National Assembly confirmed.
This was announced Thursday by the first vice president of the National Assembly, Jean-Marc Kabund.
The announcement comes as the authorities fear the third wave of coronavirus cases.
The infection rate has been increasing in recent days. At least 107 new cases were identified on Thursday, including 102 in Kinshasa.
As of May 28, official figures show 31,385 confirmed cases and 782 deaths. The capital Kinshasa has been the epicenter of the epidemic and has recorded more than 21,700 cases since the first case was reported in the country.
Several close associates of President Felix Tshisekedi have died from the disease according to local reports.
However, the majority of the capital's inhabitants remain skeptical about the presence, or even the existence, of Covid-19 in this sprawling suburbs, which has so far been relatively spared.
Already on its 40th day of the vaccination campaign, DRC has inoculated close to 20,000 people.
However, many Congolese remain suspicious or hostile to the vaccine, particularly due to rumours spread on social networks.
DRC had to give 1.3 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to its neighbours out of the 1.7 million received through the UN Covax system. Africanews
DRC has 384,000 doses in stock and has received 50,000 more doses from the Indian government," according to the government. By Michael Oduorwith AFP/Africa News
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