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The Ins and Outs of Kenya’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plan

This story originally appeared on Gavi’s website. Below is an excerpt.

Reaching the goals of Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan requires the best possible interaction between public and private healthcare sectors. Catherine Kyobutungi, Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center, provided some insights into the country’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy and the inclusion of private companies in vaccination programs.

WHAT’S THE ROLLOUT PLAN?

The first vaccines to arrive were sent through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility – COVAX. Kenya is set to receive 24 million doses through the facility.

The country’s strategy is a comprehensive one that goes up to June 2023, by which time it expects to have received about 49 million doses, covering 30% of the population. The current vaccination plan only covers 30% of the population as this is what the government has been able to secure. Once more doses and funds become available, they will expand the target.

Healthcare workers in 47 counties are among those who will get the jab first. Frontline workers, including security personnel and teachers, are also on the priority list.

This is just one, albeit crucial, part of Kenya’s elaborate vaccine rollout plan that’s to be implemented by various bodies including the National Immunisation Interagency Coordinating Committee, the Kenya National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group and the National Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee.

The vaccination strategy covers nine areas:

Regulatory preparedness: COVID-19 vaccines already approved by stringent regulatory authorities elsewhere will be expedited for approval in Kenya within seven days of a manufacturing company, or their agent, submitting an application.

Planning and coordination: this will be done under the Ministry of Health with support from the National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment and Vaccination Steering Committee, National COVID-19 Deployment and Vaccination Task Force and similar bodies at county level.

Funding: there’ll be a mix for both the vaccine and the rollout. Gavi – a global vaccine organisation – through the COVAX facility will cover 20% of the population and domestic funds will cover 10%.

Target populations and vaccination strategies: vaccine rollout will be done in three phases. The first involves 1.25 million people and runs between now and June 2021. Phase two will run between July 2021 and June 2022, targeting the most vulnerable, including the elderly and those above 18 years with comorbidities. It targets 9.76 million people. Phase three focuses on other vulnerable groups of people of 18 years and above in congregations, hospitality and the tourism industry. The phase will run between July 2022 and June 2023. It targets 4.9 million people.

All the phases are based on vaccine availability, storage requirements and administration sites that can reach prioritised populations. In phase one, as much as possible will be done through hospitals.

Supply chain management: phase one will rely on existing infrastructure. There’s a plan to increase capacity for negative temperature storage vaccines in phase two and beyond. A detailed mapping of vaccine storage facilities, or regional depots, and vaccination sites across the country has been done.

Human resources management and training: the plan is to use existing healthcare workers in public and private facilities with no new recruitments. There’s planned training – virtual and face to face – on COVID-19 vaccines and side effects targeted at staff in hospitals in the first phase and expanded to other staff in subsequent phases. Training guides based on generic World Health Organisation (WHO) training modules already exist.

Acceptance and uptake: a communication strategy is being developed and will be implemented before rollout.

Safety monitoring: following the deployment of vaccines, there’ll be safety monitoring and programmes to identify any adverse events. These programmes build on existing systems and processes for reporting adverse effects of vaccines in the country.

Monitoring and evaluation system: this will be introduced before the rollout begins. It will be developed to take into account new COVID-19 vaccine approvals as they happen.

Read the full story here.

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