The Ministry of Health(MoH) will prioritize healthcare workers and the elderly in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Kenya.

The newly formed National Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force is currently working on a system to guide distribution once any vaccine becomes available in the country.

It is expected supplies will be limited at first, with MoH set to be guided by recommendations of the World Health Organization.

“We will probably focus on healthcare workers and other employees working in hospitals first, then old people,” a member of the task force reportedly told the Star.

Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache confirmed that the ministry is working on a distribution plan.

“We are on the right path in drawing up a roadmap for the administration of the vaccine once it is launched,” she said.

Reports indicate that Kenya is likely to receive a vaccine early next year to cover about 20 percent of the population. Kenya will be among ninety-two developing countries that will receive the vaccine through WHO’s COVAX.

COVAX has signed agreements for nine different vaccine candidates, but the Oxford candidate might reach developing countries first because it can utilise existing infrastructure.

So far, some 189 countries have joined the COVAX initiative. The first vaccine batch of 500 million doses is expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2021. It will be distributed fairly among COVAX partner countries.

“Our goal, our hope is that in the first quarter of 2021 that we would have about half a billion doses available to be distributed across the countries, in a fair manner. So countries can start expecting doses toward the end of the first quarter of 2021. A few countries may start earlier, it’s likely, possible, that we may have some learnings by going early into a few countries,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said.