Kenya, Rwanda offer booster shots for virus

Saturday January 08 2022
Covid-19 vaccine booster

A health worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine. Rwanda and Kenya have started offering Covid-19 booster shots to individuals amid rising infections. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda and Kenya have started offering Covid-19 booster shots to individuals amid rising infections.

They are among 130 countries implementing booster programmes following the emergence of the Omicron variant, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Last week, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta received his booster shot at State House, Nairobi, as the country intensified Covid-19 vaccination.

Kenya’s Health ministry issued updated guidelines on additional doses of either Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine six months after completion of the primary series.

Many governments are scrambling to shore up protection against Omicron, after studies showed that an initial course of Covid-19 vaccines — typically given in two doses — may not be enough to halt Omicron infection hence the booster shots.

WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus, has, however warne that “no country can boost its way out of the pandemic.”


According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), a booster shot is an additional dose given to those who have been fully vaccinated but whose protection has decreased over time. Kenya last week announced that health facilities would be offering booster shots.

“This population that has been fully vaccinated should be offered an additional dose of either AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer vaccine six months after the completion of the primary series (the same or different vaccine can be used for the additional dose)," the health ministry memo read.

The country has received 23,279,820 vaccine doses and plans to vaccinate at least 30 million adults by the end of this year. Of the 9.8 million doses administered, 5.7 million has been a first dose and 4.1 million for second doses.

Dr Willis Akhawale, the Covid taskforce chairperson, said Kenya had enough doses for booster shots.

Last week, Rwanda recorded 2,083 positive cases, with the infection rate at 6 percent, an increase from less than onepercent a month ago. Over 5.5 million Rwandans, of 9.1 million target population, are so far fully vaccinated while 201,000 got the booster shot.