Polio vaccination drive starts in 13 counties
Mathew Ndung’u and KNA
The government said yesterday that it plans to vaccinate 3.4 million children aged below five years during the new polio vaccination drive that kicks off tomorrow until May 26, 2021.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the decision was taken after the State confirmed six cases of poliovirus in February from samples picked from sewage material in Garissa and Mombasa counties.
He said the outbreak in Garissa and Mombasa counties prompted the Health Ministry to undertake a risk assessment where they identified 13 counties which are at high risk of contracting the disease and opted for emergency polio vaccination in Mandera, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kitui, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu, and Nairobi.
The CS made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Public Health Dr Francis Kuria during the polio meeting in Nairobi, yesterday.
Kagwe assured members of the public that polio vaccines used for campaigns and routine immunisation have undergone rigorous safety procedures and are, therefore, safe to be administered to children.
“The Ministry has noted that a number of hesitant groups have established themselves in certain parts of the country, including Kitui county.
We wish to state categorically that health interventions, including vaccination is a right to the child and not a privilege,” he stated adding:
“The Government will take necessary actions, including enforcing the Public Health Act to ensure that all children and, indeed, all Kenyans enjoy this fundamental right,” added the CS.
In Kiambu county, the ministry plans to vaccinate more than 50,000 children in Ruiru sub-county.
According to the officer in charge of Ruiru Level Four Hospital Dr Evans Mwangi Community Health Volunteers will be engaged in the door to door exercise that will end on Wednesday next week.