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Uhuru roots for equity in the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

NAIROBI, Kenya July 30 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the global community to heighten efforts in promoting equity in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

President Kenyatta who spoke to Sky News in London on Thursday said the world can only be safe if everybody gets to be vaccinated against the virus.

“This is something that really needs to be looked at because the fact of the matter is nobody, not here in the United Kingdom or in the United States or in Germany, nobody is going to be safe until everybody is safe. We need to be able to come up with a way of ensuring that there is going to be equity in the distribution of these vaccines,” he said.

Kenya just like many African countries have only vaccinated less than 1.5 per cent of its population.

President Kenyatta said that the ongoing “vaccine nationalism” is a great impediment towards the fight against the virus that has so far infected close to 197 million worldwide.

He said that Kenya is ready to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccines but regretted that the only challenge is the difficulty Kenya is facing in attaining its own Intellectual Property (IP).

“If we were to be given the IP we would manufacture it in the Kenya Medical Institute Research (KEMRI) in the shortest possible time,” he said.

President Kenyatta was on a three-day tour in London where he co-hosted the Global Education Summit with Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

During his visit, President Kenyatta secured 817, 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which half has been donated through a direct bilateral donation, and half through a UK donation to the COVAX facility.

President Kenyatta has announced an ambitious plan to vaccinate 10 million people by December 2021 and 26 million by the end of 2022.

Experts have advised that with the accelerated vaccination, Kenya will have built a capacity to vaccinate 150,000 people every day from August 2021.

President Kenyatta said the government had negotiated for a better price for the vaccines and for the price of 10 million vaccines, it has negotiated for them to deliver 13 million vaccines.

The government on Friday  it will strictly enforce COVID-19 containment measures after a surge in cases from the Delta variant.

By Friday, the country’s positivity rate was at 14 per cent, a trend the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said risk increasing further unless serious measures are taken.

“Let us not drop the guard,” Kagwe warned during a press conference after chairing a National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) meeting, “we are all responsible in bringing the cases down.”

Effectively, he announced an extension of the night curfew that starts at 10pm to 4am countrywide until further notice, as well as a ban on all public gatherings.

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