The vaccination debate is still on as to whether the Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine can be used in the national vaccination program.
The vaccine has only got emergency use authorization from the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PBB).
The drug regulatory agency noted that the decision to approve the vaccine alongside AstraZeneca was arrived at after a successful evaluation process.
However, the board was quick to point out that the emergency authorization was not a registration of the vaccine.
“The application for Emergency Use Authorization of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has been approved after it met all requirements,” the authority disclosed this through a notice.
The Ministry of Health changed its narrative on the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, confirming that it has indeed been given the nod by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PBB) for use in the country.
During a press briefing yesterday, Health Ministry CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi confirmed that the vaccine which is being used in 65 countries so far has received Emergency Use Authorization in Kenya.
However, the ministry has set a criterion in which the vaccine-vouched to have a 92 per cent efficacy-will be administered and distributed.
The latest was borne off a meeting with the vaccine distributors during which, the MoH stressed on the need for strict adherence to regulatory guidelines given under the Emergency Use Authorization .
The distributor is still barred from marketing the vaccine and will be required to report to the PBB to enable better monitoring of emerging issues including adverse events.
Additionally, the distributor will be required to conduct the inoculations at yet-to be announced- approved vaccination posts that will be decided by the Kenya Medical Practitioner’s and Dentists Council.
There had also been confusion in the country after the Health Ministry said there was currently no vaccine currently available for sale in Kenya.
The Ministry of Health has not yet decided to use Sputnik V vaccine in the national vaccination programme.
That means, it can only be administered for emergency use under strict condition; the ministry says it still does not have full market authorization.
“Yes the vaccine is there, but we are going to give a detailed list of all the health centres that are going to administer it,” Mwangangi said.
During a press briefing, Mwangangi had announced that the vaccine’s private distributor was forbidden from marketing the vaccine which is yet to be pre-qualified by the WHO.
This was despite the PBB announcing that it had granted a private pharmacy, the Emergency Use Authorization for the sale of the vaccine in Kenya
The Russian Embassy had also distanced itself from the vaccines, asking any concerned parties to direct questions and concerns to its distributors in the country.
In addition, the Russian Embassy in Kenya in a statement dated March 29, 2021, said there was no agreement between the Government of Kenya and Russia for the importation and use of the Sputnik V vaccine.
The embassy said the vaccine had been imported for use in Kenya by a private entity and advised the entities to follow all guidelines and rules set by the government and the Ministry of Health.
At the same time, the embassy asked all concerned parties to direct all questions related to the private commercial importation to its importers in the country.
According to reports, those interested in getting the vaccine would have to part with Ksh.11,000 for the requisite two doses which would be administered 21 days apart.
The same day, the Ministry of Health announced that there was no vaccine currently approved for sale in Kenya.
On Tuesday, Deputy President William Ruto joined prominent Kenyans who have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The second-in-command, reports say, received a dose of the Sputnik V vaccine together with his family at their Karen home.