Mutahi Kagwe, the cabinet secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Health, said the donation is a testament to the cordial relations that exist between the two countries and which extend beyond healthcare to include trade and other sectors of development.
“Like in many other areas, China has distinguished herself in quality products and the vaccines we are receiving here today are of high quality and have also been approved by the World Health Organization,” Kagwe said in a speech read on his behalf by Susan Mochache, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Health.
He said the vaccine’s storage capacity of 2 to 8 degrees fits well in the current cold chain storage capacity that Kenya has in its vaccine stores. Kenya will be getting more Sinopharm supplies through the COVAX facility in the near future, he said.
Zhang Yijun, the minister counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Kenya who presided over the consignment at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, said the arrival of the vaccines is a testament of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
“I wish the China-produced vaccine will play its part in Kenyan government’s endeavors to protect its people,” he said.
Zhang said both countries have been supporting each other all through the COVID-19 pandemic and appreciated the Kenyan government’s efforts to extend helping hands to China and also for taking care of the Chinese nationals living and working in the East African country.
He said China has helped Kenya to fight against the pandemic through sharing prevention and control experiences as well as donating ventilators, face masks and personal protective equipment.
Zhang said China is committed to building a global community of health for all, noting that the country has to date provided more than 1.1 billion doses of vaccines to more than 100 developing countries, leading the world’s efforts to fight the virus.
Sinopharm, which is a two-dose vaccine with a 28-day gap between the first and second dose, is the fifth type of vaccine that will be deployed in Kenya alongside AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer.
Kenya has so far administered more than 3.2 million vaccine doses with 850,922 people, representing 3.1 percent of the country’s entire adult population having been fully vaccinated. The country is targeting an increase in the daily vaccination rates to 150,000 by December this year.