Counties expand vaccination centres to reach target groups
County governments have intensified the Covid-19 vaccination drive by increasing the number of sites administering the jab to the targeted citizens.
In a move to ramp up vaccination coverage, a number of governors directed their respective Health departments to decentralise the service in sub-counties.
By yesterday, a majority of devolved units confirmed that the vaccines had been dispatched to sub-counties for the exercise.
In Nakuru, Health Executive Dr Gichuki Kariuki said 21 facilities across the county are offering the vaccines to targeted groups.
Speaking yesterday, Kariuki said they intend to open 35 more centers for the inoculation drive, adding that they have completed the necessary training of medics to handle the exercise.
Gichuki urged residents to observe health protocols even as the vaccination exercise continues.
“We have begun the administration of the vaccines to persons aged 58 years and above. Let us keep safe even as we conduct the exercise,” said Gichuki.
The situation was similar in Busia as the county revealed that the exercise had been decentralised to its seven sub-counties.
While revealing the plan, Deputy governor Moses Mulomi said they are targeting to vaccinate at least 60,000 people.
“The exercise will be held at Port Victoria, Khuyangu, Nambale, Butula, Amagoro, Funyula and Matayos health centers respectively,” he said.
According to Mulomi, conducting the exercise at the sub-county level will avert overcrowding in major hospitals around the county.
Mulomi at the same time urged the residents to adhere to the Ministry of Health protocols by washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water, wearing masks, keeping social distance to keep the virus at bay.
In Turkana, Health CEC Jane Ajele said they have mapped out four more health facilities to increase coverage of the drive.
She said in addition to Lodwar County Referral Hospital, the county has earmarked Kakuma Mission Hospital, Lopiding Sub County Hospital and Amusait Hospital to roll out the vaccination programme.
Ajele said vaccines had been dispatched to sub-counties in readiness for the exercise.
“The exercise is expected to kick off by March 30 in Turkana West sub-county. We intend to reach a good number of residents,” said Ajele.
While confirming receipt of the vaccines at Kakuma, Robert Rotich, the area Medical Officer of Health Services, said vaccination roll out sensitization was already underway.
He said the sub-county had organised for 21 vaccinators into three teams of seven persons each for respective vaccination sites.
In what appears to be reading from the script played at the county level, Rotich has offered to take the first jab to demonstrate confidence in the vaccine.
Rotich said that laboratory staff from the three hospitals had also benefited from training on Covid-19 testing using RDT antigen kits for symptomatic patients.
Also, in Kakamega, the county announced it will administer the vaccine in all the 12 sub-counties to enable residents get the jab easily.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said residents above 58 years can visit public hospitals in their respective sub-counties to get inoculated.
Speaking in Malava sub-county, he urged locals to ignore misinformation about the efficacy of the vaccine.
“I was among the first people to get the jab and I have not experienced any adverse side effects,” he said.
This comes even as Tana River County Governor Major (Rtd) Dhadho Godhana revealed they had received 1,500 doses from the National government.
Addressing the press at his residence in Hola yesterday, the governor affirmed that they are adequately prepared to manage the third wave of Covid-19.
“To ensure excellence in management of Covid-19 as witnessed in the first and second wave, we have a complete treatment unit, case management unit and disease surveillance unit, which are centralised at the Hola Referral Hospital,” said Godhana.
Godhana said in a bid to strengthen and boost vaccine uptake, the county is already training its health workers for the same.
“We have so far vaccinated 238 frontline workers, therefore, the ongoing training is for those who will administer the vaccine,” Governor Godhana said. The county boss revealed that they have 89 beds and are expecting more.
“We have a total of 15 oxygen cylinders. Six are full and we expect to refill the other nine,” he said. He also urged residents to observe Covid-19 public health protocols.
At the Thika Level Five Hospital in Kiambu, senior citizens were among those scrambling to receive the jab, forcing the management to reschedule the exercise after being overpowered by the huge queues.
The elderly who spoke to journalists said they initially feared the exercise, but after intense awareness and knowledge of how the virus has been mutating, they opted to go for the jab.
In Nairobi, Deputy governor Ann Kananu led a host of county leaders in receiving the vaccine at City Hall in a bid to boost public confidence among citizens on the exercise.
The vaccination exercise also saw a section of executives and chief officers among other county officials vaccinated.
The exercise came two days after Kananu announced closure of all non-essential offices for a period of one month. —Reporting by Roy Lumbe, Henry Andanje, Mathew Ndung’u, David Ndolo and Dennis Lumiti.