The Government has closed down the window for the importation, distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by the private sector.
Speaking to the press on Friday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said that the decision was made in a meeting by the National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) on COVID-19.
According to NERC, the participation of private sector in the vaccination exercise now threatens the gains made in the fight against COVID-19.
CS Kagwe, who is NERC chairperson, says that counterfeit commodities have find their way into the Kenyan market because of private players’ involvement in the vaccination exercise.
The decision, CS Kagwe says, has been made to ensure transparency and accountability in the vaccination exercise as well as protecting the integrity of the country.
Consequently, the Ministry says that going forward there will be no licensing of private players in the importation of vaccines and any such license given will be and is hereby terminated.
“Any person advertising or vaccinating people for a fee will be in contravention of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board regulations governing emergency use authorisation and the Public Health Act. As such they will be liable for prosecution. The only agent for vaccination in Kenya will remain the government of the Republic of Kenya until further notice,” says CS Kagwe.
A number of Kenyans have been vaccinated with Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine and not the government-deployed AstraZeneca. Some of them include but not limited to DP William Ruto and his family as well as renowned lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi.
The Ministry of Health insists that the Russian-manufactured jab has not been approved by the World Health Organisation and locally, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
“We want Kenyans to be sure that all the vaccines being used in the country have been approved by two bodies WHO and PPB, Sputnik has not being approved by both. We do not have enough resources to ensure that free vaccines are not converted to paid ones,” added CS Kagwe. “The government assures those who have already taken their first dose of vaccine outside the government deployment plan will receive their second dose when due.”