Private jab imports banned as the UK blacklists Kenya
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Private jab imports banned as the UK blacklists Kenya

A shipment of doses of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine. [Reuters]

The government has banned the sale of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V days after Deputy President William Ruto received the jab.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said yesterday that the government will not approve the Sputnik V vaccine for distribution because it is not on the WHO-approved list of Covid-19 vaccines.

“Vaccines being used in Kenya have been cleared by two institutions, the first institution is WHO and the second is Pharmacy and Poisons Board,” he said.

He added that “if a vaccine has not been cleared by WHO it would not be used in Kenya whether it is being used in other countries or not.”

Kagwe said the government will be the only agent for vaccination and warned that any vaccination of people for a fee will be in contravention of the Public Health Act and will attract legal action.

“There will be no licensing of private players in the importation of vaccines, and any such license given will be and is hereby cancelled,” the CS said after a meeting with officials of the National Emergency Response Committee on Covid-19.

Emergence of new variants

He said this is meant to ensure transparency and accountability in vaccination exercise.

But the ban raises questions about Kenya’s medical regulatory framework as documents show that Sputnik V was approved by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

It is not clear what will happen to the consignment of the vaccine already in the country.

This move comes as 1,851 more people tested positive for Covid-19 from a sample size of 90,676 while 19 people died yesterday.

Kenya’s positivity rate stands at 19.1 per cent and total confirmed cases stand at 136,893.

It is these alarming numbers coupled with the emergence of new variants of Covid-19 which have seen the United Kingdom put Kenya on the red list and banned people travelling from Kenya from entering England starting April 9.

In a statement delivered on April 1,…

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