NAIROBI, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday flagged off the countrywide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, saying health workers and frontline service providers will be the first in line to receive the injection.
Kenyatta said other groups of people that will be given priority during the vaccination campaign are teachers and defined emergency service providers.
"We met as the Cabinet and made it very clear that the first persons to be administered with this vaccine shall be our frontline health workers. That is category number one," said Kenyatta in a statement issued after the launch of the exercise in Kitengela, in the outskirts of Nairobi.
"They (health workers) will be followed by our category number 2, who will be our security forces, who also due to the nature of their work are equally frontline workers," he said a day after the arrival of the first consignment of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine in the country.
He urged Kenyans to continue supporting frontline health workers especially in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying the government will provide the logistical support needed to ensure the national exercise succeeds.
"Included also will be our teachers because as you know we have resumed learning and our teachers are equally just as exposed. We will then move to those with co-mobilities and those above the age of 58 as we move to the rest of the population," Kenyatta outlined.
He reiterated the government's unflinching resolve to ensure the success of the vaccination exercise and urged Kenyans to continue observing COVID-19 containment protocols.
The administration of the jab is set to begin Friday after the vaccines are distributed from the central vaccine storage site.
Kenyatta said experts will continue giving progress updates on the vaccination campaign and expressed confidence that the country will emerge stronger from the ravages of the deadly disease.
He said his government will continue procuring more doses of the life saving vaccines, while noting that the second consignment will arrive in the country at the end of this month.
Mutahi Kagwe, the health cabinet secretary, said Kenya is among the first countries in Africa to receive the vaccine and assured Kenyans that his Ministry was adequately prepared to oversee a successful national COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
Patrick Amoth, acting director-general for Health, said the first phase of the vaccination campaign will run until the end of June and benefit 1.2 million Kenyans. The second phase to benefit 9.6 million people will start thereafter.
Kagwe said the country's total confirmed cases are 107,329, with 1,870 deaths and 87,099 recoveries.
Altogether 528 people tested positive for coronavirus in Kenya out of a sample size of 6,291 tested in the last 24 hours.
"The cumulative tests so far conducted are 1,317,617. From the cases 483 are Kenyans while 45 are foreigners. 330 are males and 198 are females. The youngest is a two-month-old infant while the oldest is 89," Kagwe told a media briefing in Nairobi.
He said a total of 435 patients are currently admitted in various health facilities across the country while 1,583 patients are on home-based isolation and care.
According to the cabinet secretary, 65 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 24 of whom are on ventilatory support and 34 on supplemental oxygen while seven patients are under observation.
He said another 15 patients are separately on supplementary oxygen all of whom are in the general wards. No patient is in the High Dependency Unit (HDU). Enditem