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What is COVID-19?

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, China. ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of what we now know as ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ (COVID-19). Since then, the virus has spread to more than 100 countries, including Kenya.

Preventative Tips

– Wash your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

– Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.

– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Which vaccine will I be receiving?

The name of the vaccine is COVISHIELD. It is developed by the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford and approved for use by the Ministry of Health (MoH), Government of Kenya.

  1. How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine works by exposing the body to an antigen that will elicit an immune response by the human body that can block or kill the virus if a person is subsequently infected with the virus. The vaccine does not cause the disease.

  1. Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? The vaccine will reduce the chances of suffering from COVID-19 disease. It protects the individual from getting severe COVID-19 disease and the risk of death from COVID-19 disease.

4. How many doses of the vaccine will I receive? Each eligible individual will receive 2 doses of COVISHIELD, 8 weeks (2 months) apart. After the first dose, you will receive a text message from the MoH informing you about the date for your second dose.

5. How will the vaccine be administered? Each dose is 0.5ml, given as an injection in the left upper outer deltoid muscle (upper left arm).

6. How long does it take to get immunity after the receiving the vaccine? Around 2 weeks after the first dose. The second dose will produce longer term protection.

7. How long will I be protected against COVID-19 disease after vaccination? There is currently no data to state how long protection from the vaccine will last. Nevertheless, booster doses are not currently recommended.

8. Can I get a different type/brand of the vaccine for the second dose? Ideally, the two-dose course should be completed with the same vaccine.

9. Can I receive other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine? Scheduling of the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines should be separated by an interval of 7 days, to avoid incorrect attribution of potential side effects/ adverse events.

10. When should one not receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Minor illnesses without fever are not valid reasons to postpone vaccination.
  • Observe precautions in persons with active/acute PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection. One can be vaccinated at least 2-4 weeks after recovery from acute illness and a negative PCR COVID-19 test.
  • Vaccinate pregnant and breastfeeding mothers only if the benefits outweigh the risks for both mother and baby.
  1. How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine has been shown to be safe. Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of the side effects are mild, last for a short time and not everyone gets them. COVID-19 vaccines do not cause COVID-19 disease.

  1. What are the common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The most common side effects include: Tenderness at the site of injection with redness, swelling, itching, and/or warmth; mild fever; tiredness; headache; muscle aches; joint pains and nausea. Even if one experiences any of these side effects, they still need to receive the second dose for more protection against COVID-19 disease.

  1. What are adverse events following immunization (AEFI)?
  • An AEFI is an unexpected medical occurrence after receiving a vaccine. It may or may not be as a result of using the vaccine.
  • AEFIs include signs and symptoms of disease and abnormal findings on laboratory tests.
  • The most common AEFIs occurring after COVID-19 vaccination include the side effects listed above. Most minor AEFIs resolve on their own within 2-3 days and can be managed with painkillers and medicines for fever such as paracetamol. If they persist beyond three days, please seek medical advice.
  • Less common AEFIs include: vomiting, decreased appetite, swollen lymph nodes, dizziness, rash and/or abdominal pain.
  • A rare AEFI in the form of a severe immediate hypersensitivity reaction can occur. In the unlikely event that it occurs, medical management will be provided by the clinical team on site.


All covid-19 updates can be accessed from https://www.health.go.ke/

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