At least 840,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have expired with the government citing vaccine party among a section of Kenyans.
Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Mercy Mwangangi said Nakuru County recorded the highest number of expired vaccines at 35,000.
According to the CAS, the lifting of some of the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the virus including mandatory wearing of face masks led to complacency on the uptake of the jab.
She indicated that the government had rolled out aggressive vaccination drives in January and February this year that saw the government administer close to 200,000 doses in a day. This was part of efforts to ensure various vaccines received in the country don’t go to waste.
“We call on county governments to do all they can to ensure that all vaccines in their facilities are administered. MoH is working with county government & partners to do everything possible to ensure that the vaccine doses are utilized before expiry,” said Mwangangi.
The expired doses were received through the COVAX facility.
The United Nations-backed COVAX scheme is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to participating countries, regardless of their income level.
So far, a total of 17.4 million vaccines have been administered across the country. Of this, 7,967,097 are partially vaccinated while 7,958,138 are fully vaccinated. Another 1,178,671 doses have been administered to those aged 15 to 17 yrs & 270,998 are booster doses.
The country has so far recorded 324,000 cases and 5,647 deaths.