NAIROBI, Kenya, February 6 – Kenya recorded 156 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday after testing 3,784 people, bringing the total number of cases to 101,690.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said 130 of the new cases were Kenyans while 26 were foreigners, 105 men and 51 women.
A four year old and an 81 year old were among the newly reported cases.
He said 34 patients had recovered from the virus, including 17 from home care and 17 others from health facilities across the country
Deaths remained at 1,776 with no deaths reported on Saturday.
Kenya has had a relatively low COVID-19 pandemic infection rate since the end of last year.
The government plans to vaccinate 16 million people by the end of the year using vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson to quell the virus.
Of the 16 million, more than 1 million healthcare workers and major providers will be among the first to be vaccinated against COVID later this month when the vaccines hit the country.
Dr. Mercy Mwangangi, Chief Administrative Secretary of Health Services, said the first batch of vaccines is expected in the country this month.
“We want to start with the most vulnerable group and that will start next month when the vaccine arrives,” said Dr. Mwangangi.
Kenya is acquiring vaccines that will be a mix of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and any other vaccines that will be inducted into the COVAX facility.
“Given the current global shortage of adequate vaccine supplies, the government is reviewing procurement through other mechanisms such as the CDC in Africa and plans to commit doses to serve an additional 5 million people and achieve a vaccination rate of 40 percent over the same period.” She said.
16 million Kenyans were vaccinated in 18 months.
The government is already in the process of developing the necessary infrastructure to store the vaccine.
While the country has set up a vaccination infrastructure with central storage facilities in Nairobi for vaccines that require a cold chain of down to -20 degrees, there is limited capacity for -70 degrees in the large urban areas.
“The government plans to expand and improve the storage space by the end of 2021. This is important so that the saving immunization programs for children are not disrupted,” said CAS Mwangangi.
She affirmed that every vaccine used in Kenya has been studied to ensure its safety.
In the second phase of the vaccination, which is scheduled to start in July and end in June 2022, 9.7 million Kenyans will be vaccinated.
The government said it will mainly target people over the age of 50 and over 18, but who have basic conditions.