Doctors support Govt move to ban importation of Covid-19 vaccines by private firms

By KNA On Mon, 5 Apr, 2021 10:01 | 2 mins read
Sputnik V
Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. Kenya has banned the private importation of Covid-19 vaccines. PHOTO | COURTESY

The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has supported the government’s move to ensure that it’s the only entity to engage in the importation of Covid-19 vaccines from the manufacturers.

On Friday, April 2, the government banned vaccination programmes by the private sector and closed the window on importation, distribution and administration of the Covid-19 vaccine due to transparency and accountability issues.

KMA President, Dr. Were Onyino, expressed concern over the commercialisation of the Sputnik-V vaccine which has locked out many Kenyans from accessing the vaccine contrary to an earlier assurance that vaccines will be available to the population for free or at a subsidised fee.

In a statement to newsrooms on Monday, April 4, Dr. Were said the situation has set a dangerous precedent that can result in the vaccines being overpriced, leaving out more than 40 percent of Kenyans who live below the poverty line.

“Vaccines are our last hope in controlling Covid-19 pandemic and we are troubled that the high markups for retailers might lock out millions of people from accessing the vaccines and yet the rollout is being conducted in a haphazard manner in the last few weeks locking out the Phase 1 and the above 58 years old senior citizens,” Dr. Were said.

He called upon the Ministry of Health to stick to the Phase 1 and accelerated Phase 2 approach in order to ensure that the most vulnerable in the society are protected first.

This, he said, is the global best practice and has been effective in reducing the number of deaths from Covid-19 infection.

However, Dr. Were said in situations where a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) will be required to fast-track the vaccination of Kenyans, KMA recommends that the call for interest be done in an open and transparent manner through the print media to ensure the process is accountable.

“The importation, pricing and roll-out of the vaccine should also be aligned to national and global policies and strategies and the vaccines to be imported are WHO approved and meet the global safety standards thus expanding trust in the vaccines,” he said.

Further, Dr. Were urged the government to import vaccines that are effective against the local strains of the Covid-19 virus in the country and region.

“KMA is assuring all Kenyans of access to both doses of the vaccine in their respective risk categories to prevent panic and stampede. The vaccination process should be highly ethical and transparent,” Dr. Were said.

He assured that the KMA is available to partner with the government through the Health ministry in its effort to ensure every citizen is vaccinated.

“We continue to urge the public to adhere to the public health protocols recommended by the Ministry of Health that includes hand hygiene with soap and water, wearing of appropriate facemasks, observing social distancing and getting vaccinated as simple initiatives to fight the Covid-19 virus,” Dr. Were said.

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