Fate of thousands of teachers hang in the balance over Covid-19 vaccine doses

Fate of thousands of teachers hang in the balance over Covid-19 vaccine doses

This comes after details emerged that the country may be forced to suspend the vaccination process over supply jitters.

The second batch under COVAX facility was expected this month but India ban of AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to have a direct effect on the ongoing vaccination programme.

Currently there are less than 267,200 Covid-19 doses remaining in all regional depots.

However government officials led by head of Covid-19 vaccination, Willis akhwale, are optimistic that the second consignment of 1.5 million doses will arrive at the end of this month.

So far a total of 63,049 teachers have been vaccinated. In total 455,826 Kenyans have been vaccinated. Of these 455,299 received the AstraZeneca vaccine while 527 received the Russians Sputnik vaccine.

Nairobi county is leading in number of those vaccinated totaling 147,521 representing 32.4% of total vaccinations.

Nyeri has 14,687 people vaccinated, Nakuru has 27,103, Uasin Gishu 22,841 and Kisumu 19,423 each.

Marsabit, Tana River and Kwale counties have the least number of people vaccinated each recording 414, 516 and 1,045 total number of those vaccinated respectively.

Those vaccinated are supposed to get a second dose of the vaccine according to the vaccination procedure but this may not be possible following the ban.

Already the Africa CDC is seeking alternative COVID-19 vaccines after the ban affected its member countries.

Although the African Union and Africa CDC’s target is to vaccinate 60% of the population- up to 750 million people in the continent- high global demand, and bottlenecks encountered by the Serum Institute of India, is making it difficult for the continent to achieve this goal.

“The target was 90 million by April. So far 36 million people have been vaccinated. We still have a lot of effort and intervention to put in place.” Dr. Ahmed Ogwell, the Deputy Director Africa CDC said.

Many countries in the continent including Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria received their first consignment, mainly of the Astrazeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility.

With the fate of the second and other consecutive consignments hanging in the balance, the African Union’s bloc of 55 member states has shifted its focus to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In a deal signed last week, the CDC is looking to secure up to 400 million doses even with additional supplies from Johnson & Johnson.

This is in addition to the Astrazeneca vaccine supply from Serum Institute of India to Africa through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility.

TSC data on Covid-19 vaccination

Last month the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) released data of teachers who will get vaccinated against Covid-19 by June 2021.

Already a list of 110,000 teachers who will be given first priority for the Covid-19 vaccine is out.

The teachers’ employer said these are staff who are 50 years and above and fall under the first group lined up for the vaccination.

TSC) CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia on Monday urged teachers participating in the KCPE and KCSE marking exercise to take the Covid-19 vaccine jab.

Macharia said at Aquinas High School, Nairobi, before the start of KCSE Mathematics Paper 1 exam in Nairobi.

Macharia said out of the 110,000 teachers 92,850 teach in public schools and within age 50 year age bracket, 15,000 are 58 years and above.

Another 16,500 teachers who fall under the high risk category teach in private and international schools.

Macharia released data after monitoring the ongoing KCSE examinations in the city.

During the launch of teachers’ mass vaccination, Willis Akhwale, chairman of the Covid-19 task force for vaccine deployment, had said that teachers with underlying medical conditions but who do not fall under the said age bracket will be vaccinated in the next round when the second shipment arrive.

“We are expecting to receive another batch of vaccines and those teachers will be considered then,” said Akhwale. 

Macharia said the commission was working to have all teachers vaccinated.

“We shall continue collaborating with the Ministry of Health to ensure that, gradually, all teachers receive the jab,” said the TSC boss.

She said teachers are a vulnerable group as they come into contact with learners who do not show symptoms even when they are infected.

The TSC boss said the move to open the age bracket for teachers will go a long way in curbing infections among tutors.

There are some 330,671 teachers working in public schools and 158,000 in private institutions. 

India on Sunday banned the export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients as demand rocketed due to a record surge in COVID-19 infections, leading to a crippling shortages in many parts.

Authorities have blamed the ferocious resurgence of the virus mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks.

Still, religious gatherings have continued and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have themselves addressed election campaigns attended by tens of thousands of people, many without masks and hardly any following social distancing.

As new COVID-19 cases surged to 152,879 on Sunday, the sixth record rise in seven days, harried relatives of patients made a kilometre-long queue to buy Remdesivir outside a big hospital in the western state of Gujarat, witnesses said.

India, known as the pharmacy of the world, has already stalled major exports of coronavirus vaccines though its supply too has run short in some states of the country.

In addition to the Remdesivir ban “till the situation improves”, the health ministry said that manufacturers had been asked to step up supplies.

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