NAIROBI, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Ministry of Health said Wednesday it plans to acquire two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer as well as Johnson & Johnson to supplement the AstraZeneca vaccines as part of efforts to fight the virus.
Mutahi Kagwe, Cabinet Secretary for Health, however, said the vaccines will have to pass approvals from the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the country's stringent rules to be given out in the country.
Kagwe noted that Pfizer which requires minus 70 degrees in storage, if acquired by the government, would not pose any challenge since the government would also acquire the special storage facilities to go with them.
He said Kenya has three sources where it acquires the vaccines.
"They include the government to government like the recent donation of 100,000 doses acquired from the government of India. The second platform is the COVAX facility where the government acquired 1.1 million doses and the last one is the African Union," he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Kenya commenced inoculation against COVID-19 in early March, soon after the country received 1.02 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses under the COVAX facility.
The Ministry of Health said on Monday that more than 700,000 Kenyans have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kagwe made the remarks after receiving a donation of Personal Protective Equipment worth 2.3 million shillings (21,215 U.S. dollars) donated by MultiChoice Kenya.
He said under the African Union facility which Kenya is yet to utilize, they have negotiated rates with manufacturers where the country can acquire the vaccines at discounted rates.
The official said the government banned the private sector role in vaccines because of the confusion it was going to create, as well as the risk of some people taking advantage to sell the doses to Kenyans whereas they are free of charge.
He pointed out that the supply chain had complicated the acquisition of more vaccines for the country but noted that the government was working tirelessly to ensure the stocks don't run out.
Kagwe noted that under the COVAX facility, Africa had expected to acquire 75 million doses but so far only 12 million doses had been delivered.
He added there has been a drop in the positivity rate being witnessed in the country in the last two weeks and that he hopes Kenyans will maintain it that way to further curtail the spread of the virus.
Kagwe pointed out that the drop in positivity rate can be attributed to the containment measures being adhered to by Kenyans.
He however noted that there have been spikes being witnessed in certain counties which might complicate matters.