NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22- Four COVID-19 patients succumbed to the virus Monday, pushing total fatalities to 1,827 even as the country prepared for vaccines arrival next week.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that 105 more people had contracted the virus raising the total number of cases to 104,306 since the first case was announced in March last year.

He said the new cases were detected from 3,573 samples that were analyzed on Sunday.

By February 22, 333 COVID-19 patients were admitted in various health facilities in the country, among them 51 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 23 were on ventilatory support and 24 were on supplemental oxygen.

The Government has assured that the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccine will be administered free of charge in all public health facilities, with arrivals expected from next week.

About 16 million people will be vaccinated by end of the year to suppress the virus with vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson.

Of the 16 million, more than 1 million health care workers and essential providers will be among the first people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 later in February when the vaccines are expected to arrive in the country.

In phase two of the vaccination, which is set to kick off in July and end in June 2022, 9.7 million Kenyans will be vaccinated.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said the Ministry will also come up with a mechanism of regulating the vaccine cost in private health facilities.

“As it stands today the discussion is that the vaccine will be free in public facilities, there are discussions to ensure there will be a mechanism of regulating cost at the private sector,” said Mwangangi Friday, during a virtual session with medics ahead of the vaccine roll out once it arrives later February.

Mwangangi said the vaccine will be administered voluntarily, with plans to intensify public sensitization.

“As an individual, I will be on the front-line to receive the vaccine, there will be no victimization and the vaccine will be given to those willing,” she said.

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