Japan supports Kenya’s safe distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, through a grant to UNICEF

Helping improve the cold chain for vaccines that need to be kept at low temperatures

19 May 2021
 Cold chain for vaccines

Nairobi, 19 May 2021 - The Government of Japan has donated about 212 million Kenya Shillings to Kenya to improve the cold chain capacity for COVID-19 vaccines roll out, as part of a grant of about 1.2 billion Kenya Shillings to 11 countries in the East and Southern Africa region. The funding will support the Government of Kenya in its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, especially through the procurement of equipment for vaccine storage, distribution and continuous temperature monitoring, including storage for vaccines that require “ultra-cold” temperatures. The funds will also be used to support the installation of new equipment and provide training to the healthcare workers on how to operate the equipment.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya, Japan has been contributing to the fight against the virus by providing medical equipment and PCR test kits,” H.E. HORIE Ryoichi, Ambassador of Japan to Kenya said. “Japan is now committed to supporting the improvement of the vaccination programmes all over the world by contributing about 21.2 billion Kenya Shillings to the COVAX facility, an international mechanism led by Gavi, CEPI, WHO and UNICEF.”

“However, having the vaccination itself, has no meaning if the country does not have sound cold chain capacity,” Ambassador Horie Ryoichi continued. “That’s why we decided to provide this emergency grant to ensure equitable access and swift distribution of vaccines in Kenya. Japan has decided to co-host the Vaccine Summit on 2nd June and I am sure that we will continue to contribute towards the global fight against COVID-19 including the enhancement of vaccine access.”

The Government of Japan’s assistance will be used to strengthen Kenya’s health system capacity as it rolls out the largest vaccination programme in its history. Cold chain capacity is essential to store and transport the COVID-19 vaccines safely across the country, while also ensuring that the COVID-19 response does not disrupt routine immunisation services for other childhood diseases, such as polio and measles. This investment will also strengthen the existing immunization system, so that Kenya will continue to benefit when the pandemic is over.

“UNICEF is very grateful to the Government of Japan for supporting children and families in Kenya at this time of need,” UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman said. “As we work to leave no-one behind, we must ensure that vaccines reach those in greatest need, wherever they live. Vaccines also protect the health care workers, teachers and parents who care for children. This new funding provided by Japan will provide a vital boost to the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Kenya, while also protecting routine immunisation for children and strengthening the health system.”

As the largest vaccine buyer in the world, UNICEF has been selected as the lead procurement and supply agency for COVAX. In Kenya, UNICEF is also supporting the Ministry of Health on its vaccine communication campaign, ‘Pata Chanjo ya Tumaini’, and on strengthening the cold chain system, which benefits millions of children in Kenya every year.

Media contacts

Joy Wanja Muraya
Communication Specialist
Tel: 0721 466 267
Taiko YUSA
Coordinator for Economic Cooperation
Embassy of Japan
Tel: 020 289 8000


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus . Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.