Covid-19 Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

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The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory. However, considering the benefits of vaccination against severe disease and death, it is strongly recommended that all eligible persons be vaccinated. The need for vaccination is even greater for healthcare workers.

Following WHO guidance, the Ministry will offer the COVID 19 vaccines first to individuals who are at greater risk of exposure to the virus, or who will likely suffer a more severe course of illness after contracting the virus, the first phase targets healthcare workers, teachers, security agencies and persons over the age of 58 years.

Kenya plans to vaccinate 40% (or 20,000,000 people) from a total population of 49 million people by the end of 2022 in 3 phases as follows: Frontline healthcare workers and all staff working in health facilities both in public and private sectors, workers undertaking essential services in priority sectors like security, teachers and those above the age of 58 years. The second phase targets persons above 50 years of age and those above 18 years of age with underlying health conditions. In the last phase hopefully, there will be sufficient doses of vaccines available which will target the vaccination of 4.9 million people and the aim is to target all other vulnerable populations like those on congregate settings.

In the different clinical trials conducted, this vaccine has been shown to protect against symptomatic infections with an efficacy ranging between 60% and 90%. According to an analysis published in The Lancet, this difference may be due to the interval between both doses: a longer interval (12 weeks) protects better (above 80%) than an interval below 6 weeks (under 60%). To date, no hospitalizations or deaths have been registered among people who received doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in clinical trials.

According to preliminary results obtained in the UK, this vaccine maintains a high efficacy against the “British” (B1.1.7) variant. In contrast, its capacity to protect against symptomatic infections caused by the variant first identified in South Africa (B1.351) seems to be much lower (around 25%) according to a small clinical trial in the African country. Still, it is hoped that it will protect against hospitalisation and death, since to date no cases of hospitalisation or death by COVID-19 have been reported in people who have received both doses of the vaccine in clinical trials. Even in South Africa, the vaccine prevented severe disease

Researchers do not yet know yet how long immunity lasts after vaccination. That is why continuation of public health preventive practices, e.g., wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly and physical distancing, will still be important for some time to come.

No. None of the current vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. However, as with all other vaccines, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building immune protection.

Injection site tenderness (>60%); injection site pain, headache, fatigue (>50%); myalgia (muscular pain), malaise (a feeling of overall weakness, discomfort, feeling like you have an illness) (>40%); fever, chills (>30%); and arthralgia (pain in a joint), nausea (>20%). The majority of adverse reactions were mild to moderate in severity and usually resolved within one to two days of vaccination. By day 7 the incidence of subjects with at least one local or systemic reaction was 4% and 13%, respectively. When compared with the first dose, adverse reactions reported after the second dose were milder and reported less frequently.

Within 15 minutes of vaccination, there is a doctor to provide care at the vaccination center. Beyond 15 minutes (and after leaving the vaccination center) please obtain care at the nearest sub county health facility.

COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancers, poor immunity and obesity). Such individuals are more likely to develop a severe form of COVID-19.  You should always consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and your health. On very rare occasions, allergic reactions can occur. If you have had allergic reactions to any vaccines, drugs, medical products, foods etc. in the past, you should discuss the vaccination with your healthcare provider.

Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences, the immune system, to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target.  After vaccination, if the body is later exposed to those disease-causing germs, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness. The COVID-19 vaccines work by developing an immune response to the SARS-Cov-2 virus and therefore reducing the risk of developing COVID 19 illness if exposed to the virus.

Two doses 4-12 weeks apart are administered. In Kenya, the doses shall be 8 weeks apart.

If the vaccine you received recommends two doses and you miss the second dose, it is best that you take it within seven (7) days of the missed date. However, if for some reason the second dose is delayed further, you should get the second dose as soon as possible.

The duration of protection has not yet been established. As with any vaccine, vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca may not protect all vaccine recipients.​

All people in Kenya are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, but it is not mandatory. Any immunization procedure, regardless if approved by WHO or endorsed by the Ministry of Health, should be based on the recipient’s informed consent. It is recommended that all people in Kenya should weigh, on an individual basis, the risks of contracting a severe COVID-19 illness, and the type of vaccine available to them, when making such an informed decision.

Pregnancy: There is a limited experience with the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in pregnant women. Preliminary animal studies do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to pregnancy, embryofetal development, parturition or post-natal development; definitive animal studies have not been completed yet. The full relevance of animal studies to human risk with vaccines for COVID-19 remains to be established. Administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in pregnancy should only be considered when the potential benefits outweigh any potential risks for the mother and fetus.

Breastfeeding: There is evidence from some vaccines that the breast-feeding baby may acquire a level of protection. The vaccine is recommended for use during breast feeding.

Fertility: Preliminary animal studies do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to fertility.

It is important to note that even when you have received both doses of the vaccine, you must continue to follow current guidance on hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing a face covering (mask) when you are in public places.

Yes, it is currently recommended that the vaccine can and should be given if you have had a positive antibody test.

People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered.

Yes, you should get vaccinated against COVID-19 even if you have already had the disease. However, if you are currently infected, you must wait for your symptoms to resolve, your isolation period to end and if you were prescribed steroids, these must also have ended. This applies to either of the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

After getting vaccinated for COVID-19, you must wait 14 days, before getting any other type of vaccine, for any other disease or condition.

Yes, you require to continue with the usual precautions of wearing face masks, physical distancing, cough etiquette, use of PPEs and hand hygiene.

The vaccine will be delivered at administration sites including Level 4, 5 and 6 hospitals as well as other Ministry of Health designated centers with the hope of expanding to other facilities in subsequent phases. You can access MoH approved vaccination posts in each county using this link