VACCINE EQUITY IS WORLD’S BEST SHOT AT ERADICATING PANDEMIC

Kenya is making steady progress in its efforts to shield its population against Covid -19 through vaccination.  However, the administration of vaccines is not up to speed due to the limited supplies with only 0.4 percent of population vaccinated. Globally, 2.7 billion doses have been administered, with Africa as a continent administering 1.5 percent.

A global pandemic won’t end when only one country achieves immunity. We must have equal access to vaccines for the world to recover fully and that is why we strongly advocate for vaccine equity. The government should support the global vaccine equity campaign to enable equal access to vaccine.

It should also ensure fairness and accountability in procurement and administration of the vaccines. Young people who are the main users and consumers of social and mainstream media should desist from sharing wrong information about the vaccine .Wrong information amidst the pandemic is termed as “infodemic’’ and has derailed and crippled our strides towards recovery.

AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid -19 vaccines have been found to be effective against the Delta variant blamed for a surge in infections in Kenya; but weaker in fighting the Alpha variant .The two vaccines are effective in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization in people with Delta variant, but less effective when compared to those with the Alpha variant, according to an article published in the Lancet journal.

The study which looked at Covid-19 data in Scotland found that Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine appeared less effective than the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in preventing SARS-CoV infection in those with Delta variant of concern (VOC).

This Delta variant formally known as the B 1.617 .2 has been linked to a rise in Covid -19 cases in Kenya as confirmed by the Health ministry last month .The Alpha variant is traced to the United Kingdom. This study has clearly shown that not all vaccines work the same way that is, AstraZeneca works against Delta variant, but not Alpha.

(The article is derived from the Daily Nation Monday, July 5, 2020) pages 2 and 11.

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