Involve us in vaccine rollout, healthcare workers urge State
Healthcare workers have accused the Ministry of Health of not involving them in the sensitisation and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine currently being rolled out in the country.
Through various associations, the workers want the Mutahi Kagwe led Ministry to offer training, build capacity and assure the public that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe.
Speaking when they appeared before the Senate Health Committee, the workers also expressed concern over the low uptake of the jab.
Kenya Medical Association vice-president Dr Amos Otara said although they support the administration of the vaccine, they are concerned of the slow uptake especially by healthcare workers.
“We support the vaccination exercise because it will offer protection to hundreds of health workers but our main concern is the slow roll out because of the fears associated with it and the side effects already reported in some countries,” said Otara.
Kenya received the first batch of Astra Zeneca Vaccine on March 3. The 1.02 million doses of the Astra Zeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine are part of the COVAX facility, a global initiative working with governments and manufacturers to ensure Covid-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.
Some countries have suspended use of AstraZeneca vaccine after some people developed blood clot (thrombosis).
However, the World Health Organisation has said it was aware of blood clot concerns linked to “a specific batch” of AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, but maintained that to date, no-one has died from any coronavirus vaccine.
Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists And Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary-general Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda claimed the rollout of the vaccine was done without consultation with the health workers, adding that the verified list of where the vaccine was going to be taken just came out a week after the vaccine arrived.
“The Ministry should engage the healthcare workers because there are side effects which are being reported and the healthcare workers are not immune. Should they get the jab and get side effects and will need treatment what happens?” posed Mwachonda.
Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary-general Seth Panyako said the nurses were not involved in the policy making on the roll-out of the vaccine adding that they have not been trained on the vaccine.
“We are the vaccinators but the nurses have not been trained nor sensitised. There are fears of side effects which the Ministry has not addressed adequately,” he said.