Kenya sets up COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring board

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A nurse prepares to administer a dose of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford and manufactured by Serum Institute of India Ltd., at Thika Level 5 Hospital in Thika, Kenya, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Kenyan hospitals are grappling with record numbers of critical-care patients, stretching a system that was inadequate even before the outbreak of Covid-19. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A nurse prepares to administer a dose of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford and manufactured by Serum Institute of India Ltd., at Thika Level 5 Hospital in Thika, Kenya. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kenya on Wednesday announced the formation of an independent COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring board amid surging public acceptance for inoculation against the virus.

Willis Akhwale, chairman of the national task force on vaccination, said that the board will respond to potential side effects of the jab on groups targeted for the initial phase of mass immunization against coronavirus.

“We want to ensure that all measures are taken in place by protecting populations from developing side effects from the vaccine,” Akhwale told journalists in Nairobi.

He said that no case of adverse reaction from the vaccine has been reported in the country except for a few individuals who have reported mild side effects like headache and fatigue.

Akhwale said that contrary to reported cases of blood clots that have been highlighted in some parts of the world after the vaccination, no similar case has been reported in Kenya.

The official said that the ongoing vaccination against COVID-19 does not interfere with routine immunization for children.

Akhwale said that many people will be vaccinated from this week onwards following an additional training of 2,700 and 700 healthcare workers and Trainer of Trainers (TOTs) over the last one week.

He said 340,121 Kenyans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday since the launch of the exercise in early March.

According to the Ministry of Health, 339,893 Kenyans had received AstraZeneca vaccine doses and 228 received Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.

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