COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment in Kenya

Our Response

Amref Health Africa Supporting Ministries of Health in Africa in strengthening response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the African Continent

Amref Health Africa is working closely with African Ministries of Health, Africa CDC alongside the World Health Organisation in preventive measures to curb the spread of the COVID- 19 and especially by strengthening frontline health workers. In Kenya for example, we have partnered with the Ministry of Health and Africa CDC to improve surveillance, early detection and track the spread of the disease

COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions about MoH-led vaccination programme

This guidance has been developed by the National Vaccines Task Force to provide answers to frequently asked questions on the Ministry of Health approach to vaccinating people in Kenya. It will be updated on a regular basis.

Kenya plans to vaccinate 40% (or 20,000,000 people) from a total population of 49,million people by the end of 2022 in 3 phases. The phases are not exclusive and may overlap. During Phase 1, the initial COVID-19 vaccine supply is expected to be limited and significantly, more COVID-19 vaccines will become available for distribution during Phases 2 and 3. Early vaccinations will be delivered through administration sites that can reach prioritized populations such as – Levels IV, V and VI hospitals estimated at 5% of the total facilities. The ministry will expand to other facilities in subsequent phases.

The Ministry of Health will base its prioritization on the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) Roadmap, for prioritizing uses of COVID-19 vaccines, in the context of limited supply. This roadmap allows for individuals who are at greater risk of exposure to the virus, or who will likely suffer a more severe course of illness after contracting the virus, to receive the vaccine first. Such priority groups include health care workers and other front-line workers, as well as the elderly, and those  with underlying health conditions.

The government of Kenya with support from partners is working to ensure the vaccine is made available at the earliest opportunity. The vaccine will be administered in 3 phases with health workers and other essential workers being prioritized in the first phase. The government is optimistic that the vaccines will be available from April 2021

Receiving the vaccine is very critical for Kenya and the world to respond to the negative impact of the Covid-19 disease including protecting the lives of the most vulnerable. It will however be up to the individual to decide if they want to be vaccinated or not. The government however urges all those eligible to be vaccinated to receive the available vaccines as they are WHO and Ministry of Health Approved.

In situations where vaccines are not offered free of charge by the government, they will be covered by the medical insurance policies as follows:

At this time, people will not be able to choose the kind or the brand of vaccine they want. This, however, could change as other vaccines are authorized for use and vaccine supplies increase and are available in private sector.

It will be up to the individual to decide if they want to be vaccinated or not and whether they want to accept the type of vaccination being offered by the Ministry of Health. We however urge all those eligible to be vaccinated to receive the available vaccines as they are WHO and Ministry of Health Approved.

All people in Kenya are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, but it is not mandatory. Any immunization procedure, regardless if approved by WHO or endorsed by the Ministry of Health, should be based on the recipient’s informed consent. It is recommended that all people in Kenya should weigh, on an individual basis, the risks of contracting a severe COVID-19 illness, and the type of vaccine available to them, when making such an informed decision.

You should continue covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing your hands regularly and staying at least 1.5 meters away from others and avoid crowded areas with poor ventilation. These steps will help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners are committed to accelerating the development of COVID-19 vaccines while ensuring that all vaccines are as safe as possible. All clinical trials are rigorously evaluating vaccines for safety.

Vaccines are all designed to teach the body’s immune system to safely recognize and block the virus that causes COVID-19. Several different types of vaccines for COVID-19 have been developed, or are in development, including: inactivated or weakened virus vaccines, which use a form of the virus that has been inactivated or weakened so it doesn’t cause disease, but still generates an immune response; protein-based vaccines, which use harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells that mimic the COVID-19 virus to safely generate an immune response; viral vector vaccines, which use a virus that has been genetically engineered so that it can’t cause disease but produces corona virus proteins to safely generate an immune response; and RNA and DNA vaccines, a cutting-edge approach that uses genetically engineered RNA or DNA to generate a protein that itself safely prompts an immune response.

 

For more information about all COVID-19 vaccines in development, see this WHO publication. (Source: WHO)

No. None of the current vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. However, as with all other vaccines, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building immune protection. Common side effects observed with the COVID-19 vaccines may include:

 

On the arm where you receive the vaccine: pain and swelling;

Throughout the rest of your body: fever, chills, tiredness, headache.

 

These side effects may affect your ability to perform daily activities, but they should typically go away within a few days.

 

You are encouraged to read the following information on vaccine safety and common side effects.

COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems (e.g. heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancers, poor immunity and obesity). Such individuals are more likely to develop a severe form of COVID-19.

 

You should always consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about theCOVID-19 vaccine and your health. On very rare occasions, allergic reactions can occur. If you have had allergic reactions to any vaccines, drugs, medical products, foods etc. in the past, you should discuss the vaccination with your healthcare provider.

 

You are encouraged to read the following information on vaccine safety and common side effects.

This depends on the type of vaccine you are given. With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 doses in order for them to work, with a few weeks’ interval in between. You should get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first dose, unless a vaccination provider/your doctor tells you not to get a second dose.

 

Different types of vaccines have different vaccination schedules, and other vaccines that are in the process of approval and /or development may require just a single dose.

You should always consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about theCOVID-19 vaccine and your health. On very rare occasions, allergic reactions can occur. If you have had allergic reactions to any vaccines, drugs, medical products, foods etc. in the past, you should discuss the vaccination with your healthcare provider.

You are encouraged to read the following information on vaccine safety and common side effects.

For the time being, even after receiving the vaccine, you should continue to stay vigilant (wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain physical distancing) until the vast majority of the population is immune. We are still awaiting scientific confirmation that a vaccinated person, when exposed to the virus, might continue to spread it to others when asymptomatic. Please note that vaccines continue to protect the person who receives the vaccine.

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you have already had the COVID-19 infection previously. The protection from a vaccination appears to provide more effective protection.

 

However, those who are currently infected with COVID-19 should postpone vaccination until after their illness has run its course and after they have met their health authorities’ criteria to discontinue isolation.

 

Additionally, current evidence suggests that re-infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.

Therefore, people with a recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired.

Researchers do not yet know yet how long immunity lasts after vaccination. That is why continuation of public health preventive practices, e.g. wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly and physical distancing, will still be important for some time to come.

However, those who are currently infected with COVID-19 should postpone vaccination until after their illness has run its course and after they have met their health authorities’ criteria to discontinue isolation.

Additionally, current evidence suggests that re-infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.

Therefore, people with a recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired.

Stopping a pandemic requires using all tools available, including:

 

  • Acquiring immunity against COVID-19, naturally (by contracting the illness) or through vaccination.

 

  • Avoiding contracting and spreading COVID-19 by respecting preventive measures like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet (or depending on local health authorities’ recommendations) away from others.

 

  • Wearing of masks when you are in crowded settings, where you cannot be at least 6 feet from others and in rooms with poor or unknown ventilation.

 

Together, being vaccinated against COVID-19 along with following WHO’s and other public health recommendations will offer the best protection from COVID-19 for yourself and those around you.

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will not cause a positive PCR or antigen laboratory test result since these specific tests check for active disease and not whether an individual is immune or not.

 

However, it should be noted that the antibody test (or “serology test”) may be positive in someone who has been vaccinated, since that is a specific test that measures COVID-19 immunity in an individual.

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will not cause a positive PCR or antigen laboratory test result since these specific tests check for active disease and not whether an individual is immune or not.

 

However, it should be noted that the antibody test (or “serology test”) may be positive in someone who has been vaccinated, since that is a specific test that measures COVID-19 immunity in an individual.

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The World Health Organization (WHO), Africa CDC and partners are scaling up preparedness efforts for COVID-19 in the African region to implement the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. 

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