The national Covid-19 vaccination programme took a different turn last evening with Deputy President William Ruto going for Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine whose use and distribution the government had cautioned against.
Ruto released photos of himself and his wife Rachel Ruto getting vaccinated by a health worker days after he missed out of last Friday’s jab session at State House where President Uhuru Kenyatta led senior government officials in getting vaccinated.
The DP encouraged Kenyans to participate in the vaccination exercise to protect themselves from the disease.
“Covid-19 vaccines are our safe and effective tools in saving lives and managing the disease. I encourage Kenyans to participate in this exercise to protect themselves against the pandemic. My family and I received the Covid-19 vaccination at the Karen Residence, Nairobi County,” Ruto tweeted.
Although Ruto did not reveal which vaccine he received, there are reasons to believe that he was inoculated with the Russian-made Sputnik V jab, whose importation into the country has been marred by controversy.
Photos posted on Ruto’s official Facebook page show he was vaccinated by the same medic who injected lawyers Ahmednassir Abdullahi and Donald Kipkorir with the Sputnik V jab, which has a 92 percent efficacy rate.
Taking to social media Ahmednassir announced he was the first Kenyan to receive the Russian manufactured vaccine while Kipkorir said he was the second.
On Tuesday, the Russian Embassy in Nairobi announced a private entity imported the Sputnik V vaccine to Kenya on a commercial basis. It did not reveal the identity of the said private entity.
Last week, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) granted Emergency Use Approval to a private pharmacy, making Sputnik V the first private vaccine consignment in the country.
But on Tuesday acting Director-General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth insisted the Sputnik V vaccine is yet to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
He said the jab was yet to be pre-qualified by WHO, meaning it may take longer to be approved for emergency use in Kenya as it has not met the required standards.
However, he stated that there is a possibility of a vaccine being used without approval by WHO provided it had passed other stringent tests.
Kenyans will part with up to Sh11,000 to get the requisite two shots of the Sputnik V vaccine, administered 21 days apart.