DP William Ruto and his family were yesterday vaccinated against COVID-19.
The vaccination, coming just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta instructed the executive to get the jab, however appeared to buck the trend, with Ruto going for –not the government-approved Astra Zeneca- but the Russian-made Sputnik V.
DP Ruto’s statement announcing that he had been vaccinated was non-specific as to the particulars of the vaccine. “COVID-19 vaccines are our safe and effective tools in saving lives and managing the disease,” he wrote on his social media pages. “I encourage Kenyans to participate in this exercise to protect ourselves against the pandemic. My family and I received the COVID-19 vaccination at the Karen Residence, Nairobi County.”
As he was being vaccinated, Ruto wore his now trademark “Hustlers” cap. He was also wearing something else that perhaps laid bare the type of vaccine he was receiving: A red shirt with stripes of white and blue resembling the Russian flag.
Earlier in the day, two prominent Nairobi lawyers – Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Donald Kipkorir had received the Sputnik V vaccine. It is reportedly going for about Ksh8,000.
The vaccine, according to the medical journal The Lancet, has 91·6% protection against SARS-CoV-2.
In comparison, the government of Kenya-approved AstraZeneca offers 75% protection.
“I have full confidence in the vaccine to protect me from all Covid-19 variants,” said Mr Kipkorir on twitter.
On Monday, the Russian Embassy in Nairobi said the Sputnik V has been brought into the country by a private entity purely on commercial basis and they have nothing to do with it.
“The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Kenya hereby underlines that it is the obligation of private importers to strictly follow all the regulations of the Kenyan authorities and act in compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Kenya,” the embassy said in a statement.
At the same time, the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya has warned Kenyans against the unauthorised marketing of COVID 19 vaccines. “Our attention has been draw to personalities marketing brands of the COVID-19 vaccine to the public through their social media pages,” said the Society President Dr Louis Machogu in a statement yesterday, without naming the specific vaccine. “The said marketing could also inadvertently lead to increase in proliferation of fake medicines in the country.”