Russian-manufactured Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine has arrived in Kenya, complementing the presence of the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived in the country three weeks ago.
This comes two days after the Pharmacy and Poisons Board gave approval to emergency use the Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine in Kenya. The jab will cost Ksh11,000.
At least 75,000 doses of the jab have been shipped into the country, but will only be available to those aged 18 years and above.
Efficacy of Sputnik V is 91.6 percent as confirmed by the data published in the Lancet, becoming one of only three vaccines in the world with efficacy of over 90 percent.
“This interim analysis of the phase 3 trial of Gam-COVID-Vac showed 91·6% efficacy against COVID-19 and was well tolerated in a large cohort,” said Lancet in their report.
The manufacturers of the vaccine say that they are collaborating with the developers of AstraZeneca on a joint clinical trial to improve the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine.
Kenya approved the Sputnik-V vaccine a day after Mauritius, becoming the 56th country globally to approve the vaccine for use locally.
Sputnik V had been approved earlier in Russia, Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Republika Srpska (entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bahrain, Montenegro, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Gabon, San-Marino, Ghana, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Guyana, Egypt, Honduras, Guatemala, Moldova, Slovakia, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Laos, Iraq, North Macedonia, Morocco, Jordan, Namibia, Azerbaijan, Philippines, Cameroon and Seychelles.
The European Union is also considering opening doors for members countries to order the vaccine, with Germany already announcing its readiness to procure the vaccine.
“On the Russian vaccine, I have been of the opinion for some time that we should use any vaccine that has been approved by the European medicines regulator,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Reuters reports that EU has been discussing the possibility of procuring the Sputnik-V vaccine to help vaccinate its population of 450 million people.
“Hungary and Slovakia have already bought the Russian shot, the Czech Republic is interested, and the EU official said Italy was considering using the country’s biggest vaccine-producing bioreactor at a ReiThera plant near Rome to make Sputnik V,” reported Reuters.
The European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen had previously questioned Russia’s reasons for exporting millions of doses despite a slow rollout at home, where fewer people have been vaccinated. However, they also seem to have loosened the stance.
The vaccine was registered for use in Russia in August 2020, the first registered Covid-19 vaccine out of 165 being developed across the world.
The rollout in Kenya comes at a time the country is experiencing the third wave of Covid-19, with more deaths being recorded every day.
In some parts of the world, health authorities are reporting new variants of Covid-19, with the World Health Organization (WHO) categorizing a new variant in Brazil as a “variant under investigation” (VUI) rather than a “variant of concern” (VOC) like the strains that were recently identified in Brazil, the UK and South Africa.