Kenya has received the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines paving the way for the inoculation of frontline health workers and other professionals offering essential services across the country.

The Qatar Airways plane carrying 1.02 million doses sent from the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 11:55pm on Tuesday.

The long-awaited plane left Pune in Eastern India on Monday with a stopover in Doha before taking off for Nairobi’s JKIA from the Hamad International Airport in Doha at exactly 6:35pm.

James Macharia and Mutahi Kagwe. PHOTO/COURTESY

The doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine are part of the 24 million doses Kenya is expected to import to effectively deal with the Coronavirus pandemic in the next couple of months.

The first consignment of the vaccines was received by top government officials led by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Transport CS James Macharia, UNICEF Director Maniza Zaman and World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Reprsentative Rudi Eggers.

The vaccines are scheduled to be distributed to Level 2, 3, 4 and 5 hospitals across the country.

"This is an exciting moment for our nation, receiving the Covid-19 vaccines. We have been fighting the virus using rubber bullets but this time round what we have received here is equivalent, metaphorically speaking, to acquisition of machine guns, bazookas and tanks to fight this war against Covid-19," said Kagwe at the airport.

James Macharia and Mutahi Kagwe. PHOTO/COURTESY

The ministry had indicated earlier that among those who would receive the initial Covid-19 jabs included health workers, teachers, security personnel and the most susceptible in the society.

After clearance from JKIA, the vaccines will be moved to the Central Vaccines storage in Kitengela before finally being transferred to the nine regional depots across the country.

Covid-19 vaccines being offloaded. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kenya intends to vaccinate 15.8 million people, about 30 per cent of the population, in an exercise to be executed in three phases.

This comes amid concerns by Kenyans that political leaders and senior government officials could sip the line to get the vaccine at the expense of more deserving persons, including frontline health workers, teachers, police and other vulnerable populations.