With Covid-19 cases worldwide crossing 130 million and 3 million deaths registered and Kenya surpassing the 100,000 mark with over 2,000 deaths, the urgency and desperation for the Covid19 vaccine which the scientists have said is the only way to get back to normal life and prevent severe sickness and deaths grew bigger.
With scarcity of the vaccine, wealthier countries rushed and bought off the markets the vaccines to the advantage of their countries, currently over 500 million people in the world have been vaccinated with US having gone passed 100 million mark and United Kingdom projecting a complete population vaccination by June.
Poor countries have been left on their own depending on small donations from donor countries for their larger population.
Kenya was amongst the first countries to rollout the vaccination in Africa.
In January, the Ministry of Health announced that it would vaccinate 1.25 million people for the coronavirus between February and June “when it is expected that global vaccine stocks will be limited.”
This was to be the first phase of a three-phase vaccination program against a second wave of the pandemic that Kenya is facing.
The second phase was planned to witness the vaccination of 9.7 million more Kenyans from July 2021 to June 2022, targeting those older than 50 well as those above 18 “with underlying health conditions,” as this will be when more vaccines become available, according to the ministry.
The third phase target 4.9 million from “all other vulnerable populations like those on congregate settings.” It could also run concurrently with the second phase “depending on availability of adequate vaccines.” As of 4th April according to WHO records, only about 150,000 had received their coronavirus vaccination which has so far been managed by the ministry’s rollout initiative regarded as slow and alarming.
With a loophole in the crucial market, private investors with the government having approved possible collaborations through Public Private Partnerships(PPPs) opened a window for importation of the vaccines to supplement the government’s efforts in vaccination to attain a goal of healthy nation.
A consortium of politicians, businessmen and lawyers trooped together to cut one of the deals that would later bounce on their faces and at risk of losing billions. The plan was simple, identify most sellable vaccine type, raise the money, initiate global links and secure the vaccine at the earliest days and fastest speed.
Information obtained by Kenyan Market Intelligence reveal Nairobi West Hospital proprietor and a scandalous figure in the healthcare sector masterminded the plan, the deputy president William Ruto as a prospective financier was approached by the proposal through Adil Khawaja who has been his wheeler dealer for a longtime and a confidant. As expected, the DP bought in the idea. This was a good idea at a bad time when his fortunes have been dwindling and he needed to raise money for his 2022 campaigns.
Roped in the lobbying was lawyer Ahmednasir Abdulahi with his international linkages and reputation was well fitted to broker deal with Russian importers together with Suna East MP Junet Mohamed to provide political protection with his mojo being he cuts through all the three coalitions, Junet has built an in-depth deal cuttings that after Kemsa sh7 billion deal which was brokered by Alhajj Amin his younger brother and spokesperson to Peter Kenneth placed him at a good place. His proximity and to Raila Odinga was an added advantage now that Raila is close to Statehouse, Junet gave the group a sense of safety and guaranteed them the protection so much needed.
Having pooled the funds, paid well the Russian vaccine brokers and secured supply, the lawyers worked out the papers and ensured all the legal channels were followed and authorities informed, the vaccine was on its way to Kenya and this is where the problems started.
Days before the vaccine was openly said to be in Kenya, the two lawyers had already started subliminal marketing with a clear indicator that they had insider information.
SC, as soon as you get authorized medical facility for Sputnik V that will give us the vaccine plus internationally recognized COVID-19 Green Card, let me know.— Donald B Kipkorir (@DonaldBKipkorir) March 24, 2021
Daily Nation broke the story that the vaccine was being sneaked into the country from the port of Mombasa notorious for illicit pharmaceuticals smuggling and gave the vaccine an instant bad press. While Dinlas Pharma Limited executives the frontier firm owned by Jayesh were trying to calm the storms from the press behind scenes, the marketing of the vaccine went top notch on social media platforms a move that was harshly criticized by Kenya’s pharmaceuticals association as unethical.
What followed was Ruto and his wife taking the Sputnik vaccine giving it a thumbs up and marketing booster.
COVID-19 vaccines are our safe and effective tools in saving lives and managing the disease. I encourage Kenyans to participate in this exercise to protect ourselves against the pandemic.— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) March 30, 2021
My family and I received the COVID-19 vaccination at the Karen Residence, Nairobi County. pic.twitter.com/tWmrojtgl5
A coordinating pattern of selects posting followed.
Today, I became the Second Kenya to take the Russia COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccine … I have full confidence in the vaccine to protect me from all COVID-19 variants. pic.twitter.com/uukI9yctWA— Donald B Kipkorir (@DonaldBKipkorir) March 30, 2021
Good Morning Kenyans please go get yourself vaccinated today against Covid-19 virus. If you are not sure which vaccine to get please look at the study below! pic.twitter.com/51xN1vRPUe— Sen. Ledama Olekina (@ledamalekina) April 1, 2021
As a section speculated that the vaccine didn’t follow the right procedures, Pharmacy and Poisons Board confirmed approving the vaccine, but for emergency use only, saying marketing approval had not been issued. This was echoed by the ministry of health a day before things took a totally different turn.
THEY are importing Johnson & Johnson vaccine…and to monopolise the market I won't be surprised if Sputnik V is suspended…it is a racketeering system where few call the shots to make BILLIONS!— Ahmednasir Abdullahi SC (@ahmednasirlaw) April 2, 2021
On Friday 2nd April, Health CS Kagwe announced Friday it had banned the importation, distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by private enterprises. This left the consortium with a dead stock and many questions as to how it happened. So well connected that the group had even acquired assurances from the Russian embassy brokers.
Information availed to Kenyan Market Intelligence indicate that the President himself was not impressed by the commercialization of the vaccine and ordered intelligence authorities to initiate investigations on the criteria of importation. It is through this chain flow that it was found that consortium brokerage lawyer had bribed KEMRI officials whom are currently under probe and facing disciplinary measures in a few. We’re also aware of ministry of health officials and poisons board who ticked the importation as being in a panic mode since the investigations started.
So the government banned Sputnik V vaccine so that the Deputy President of the same government does not get the second shot? 🙆🏿🙆🏿 Meanwhile my friends @ahmednasirlaw @DonaldBKipkorir will suffer collateral damage.— KIPCHUMBA MURKOMEN, E.G.H (@kipmurkomen) April 3, 2021
The debacle of the ban has seen pressure being mounted on Junet Mohamed who promised political protection and with the ban being viewed as a political war, the BBI Co-Chair has promised to talk to Raila who’s close to Uhuru to help calm the waters with expectations being that the government will lift the ban and they can continue with the business.
Sources privy to the importers indicate that 100,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccine had already been shipped in and with 2 million doses said to have been secured already and on the way which is another reason why there has been tension and pressure. We’re aware of the intense lobbying which also includes buying professional bodies to support PPPs bid in importation.
Richard Ngatia of Megascope is also amongst those planning to import the vaccine and amongst the lobbyists pushing to ensure the window for importation of the vaccines.
Other African nations that have allowed their use include Angola, the Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ghana and Guinea, the sovereign fund said in a statement. Sputnik V has a 91.6% efficacy and provides full protection against severe cases of the illness, it said.
One of the greatest issues that have risen in the current times is the vaccine hoarding and a vaccine apartheid. “If the dangerous trend of vaccine nationalism & hoarding in wealthier countries continues, it could delay a global recovery. We must ensure that vaccines are available & affordable to all as soon as possible.” Said UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres.