By Samuel Ouma
The first batch of 13 million Johnson and Johnson vaccines will land in Kenya in August 2021, announced President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Speaking during a live address to the country on Tuesday evening, President Kenyatta said Kenya is in the process of negotiating with the company, saying they have managed to get a lower price.
The East African country rolled out its vaccination plan in March using the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, the exercise suffered a massive blow after India, the chief producer, banned the exportation of the vaccine to eradicate the virus in its territory. Only a few people have received the second dose due to a shortage of vaccines.
Mr. Kenyatta said they plan to import the covid-19 vaccine unpackaged to finalize the remaining process when the virus arrives in the country. This is to avoid time wastage as statistics show that Kenya is one of the countries with the lowest percentage of vaccination against the virus.
At the same time, Kenya’s Head of State disclosed a plan to vaccinate 26 million adults by June 2022, with 10 million sets to be vaccinated by December 25 this year. In the new plan, his administration is also monitoring approval of vaccines for underage with a target to inoculate four million minors by mid-next year.
He noted the government intends to accelerate vaccination exercise that will see 150,000 people vaccinated daily effective August 2021.
“Instead of vaccinating 10 million adults by June 2022, we will vaccinate the entire adult population of 26 million Kenyans by 2022. In fact, by Christmas this year, we intend to have vaccinated over 10 million adults,” said President Kenyatta.
“A vaccinated population of 30 million will allow us to begin the journey for herd immunity against this pandemic. This is our intention for the next twelve months,” he added.
During the 16th National Address on coronavirus pandemic at State House, Nairobi, President Kenyatta extended the dusk to dawn curfew by 60 days. The curfew time will run from 7 pm to 4 am in the hotspot areas, and the rest from 10 pm to 4 am.
Political gatherings are also banned for the same number of days.
Funerals, burials, and other interment ceremonies shall be conducted strictly within 96 hours of confirmation death.