Denmark donates over 350,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to Kenya

Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Flemming Møller Mortensen visits UNICEF Supply Division on June 4, 2021/ TWITTER

Denmark has donated 358, 700 vaccines to Kenya.

This was announced when Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Flemming Møller Mortensen visited UNICEF Supply and toured the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse on Friday.

The minister said UNICEF will handle the logistics.

In a statement on Friday, the Embassy of Denmark said the vaccines are expected to arrive in Kenya ‘shortly’, and will immediately be handed over to the Ministry of Health and enter the National Vaccination Programme.

“The pandemic will not be under control before vaccines are rolled out globally, and global solidarity is important in the trying times we are in. On this backdrop, the government of Denmark has decided to send 358.700 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine – that are part of a national vaccine surplus – to Kenya, to support the country in their Covid-19 response,” the statement said.

“The donation is possible thanks to a good collaboration between UNICEF and Danish and Kenyan health authorities, and is a testimony of the good partnership between Denmark and Kenya,” it added.

Denmark in April became the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine altogether over a potential link to a rare but serious form of a blood clot.

There is a “real risk of severe side effects associated with using the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca,” the Danish Health Authority said in a statement .

“We have, therefore, decided to remove the vaccine from our vaccination programme,” it said, adding that it “may re-introduce the vaccine at a later date if the situation changes.”

Denmark put AstraZeneca’s vaccine on hold on March 11 while the European Medicines Agency investigated reports of unusual blot clots in people who had received it.

Denmark Ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke said international solidarity is crucial in a pandemic as no one is safe, unless everyone is safe.

“I am really pleased that Denmark is able to support our good and long-term partner Kenya in their battle against Covid-19, and it is my hope that these vaccines will help close part of the vaccine gap Kenya is currently experiencing, and ultimately keep more Kenyans safe,” Thonke said.

Kenya received just over one million AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX in March and more than 950.000 Kenyans have received their first dose.

However, with the current global shortage in vaccines the next delivery from COVAX has been delayed leaving many Kenyans waiting for their second jab and final immunization.

Like many other vaccines, the AstraZeneca has a life span of just six months, and the vaccines that Denmark sends to Kenya will expire on 31 July, 2021. It has thus been critical for Denmark to donate the vaccines as soon as possible, and to fast-track the expedition, which is possible thanks to good collaboration with UNICEF.

Kenya is a strong and long-term partner for Denmark, and  the Scandinavian country  has supported the country’s national Covid-19 response since the pandemic hit in March 2019.

“With Kenya’s efficient vaccination programme, Denmark is confident that the vaccines will be of immediate use to Kenyans, and it is the hope that the vaccines can help close part of the current vaccine gap in Kenya. Denmark extends warm thanks to Hon. CS Kagwe and Hon. CS Omamo for their big support in making this happen,” the statement said.

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