Kenya has received more than 1 million Covid-19 vaccines as part of the global COVAX program, according to a news release from the country’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

A plane carrying 1.02 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine touched down just before midnight Tuesday in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

It is part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.5 million doses, according to the joint statement from Kenya’s Health Ministry, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

According to the Ministry of Health, the first beneficiaries of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will include frontline workers such as health care professionals, teachers and security personnel.

The COVAX program, led jointly by WHO along with health non-profit organizations, aims to supply vaccines to developing countries in the first 100 days of 2021 and to deploy at least 2 billion doses by year’s end.

“We know that this pandemic will not end in one country until it has ended in all countries,” said Thabani Maphosa, managing director for country programs at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“The first arrivals of Covid-19 vaccine doses in Kenya represents the start of equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines worldwide. These first doses are for the vaccination of frontline health workers which are critical to the Covid-19 response and the maintenance of all health services.”

In addition to the vaccines, UNICEF is providing syringes and safety boxes to Kenya, via a global stockpile funded and supported by Gavi.