Private facilities selling Covid jabs risk deregistration – Oluga

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 00:00 |
Rukia Mweni holds her baby as he receives polio vaccine in Kibra, Nairobi County, yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

George Kebaso @Morarak

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has raised the alarm over the possibility of some unscrupulous private sector facilities administering Covid-19 vaccines at a cost.

This is against the Covid-19 national vaccination policy as the exercise – which kicked off in March - is free of charge, Chief Officer of Health in Nairobi County, Dr Ouma Oluga, said yesterday.

“We have heard reports and speculation that some private sector facilities are selling or charging for Covid-19 vaccines.

We have asked the office of the County Commissioner to investigate,” he said during mass polio vaccination exercise at the Kibera Vaccination Centre.

Criminal network

Consequently, the facilities face imminent deregistration if caught, Oluga warned, raising further eyebrows that there could be a criminal network in counties through which vaccines are channeled to people not authorised to administer them.

“We have heard reports of people being requested to pay between Sh1,000 and Sh5,000.

We want to make it very clear to people in Nairobi that Covid-19 vaccination exercise supervised by the Ministry of Health and being implemented here in the city by NMS is for free,” he said 

Oluga spoke even as Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe warned Kenyans against dropping the guard in the face of new variant from India.

Oluga said Nairobi county had consumed all the 235, 000 doses of the vaccine it received from the ministry.

“We have very high demand unlike other counties. We have also noted that some of these vaccines administered in the private sector are actually from other counties that have not been consumed, and it is very important that we make it clear to members of the public that the Covid-19 vaccines are free,” he added. 

“If you are not in a facility that has been mandated by MoH through the NMS to offer the Covid-19 vaccination, please desist,” he stated.

Oluga pointed out the matter had been escalated to the administrative arm of the government.

“We cannot pinpoint, however, we have heard from people through SMSs that they were charged.

No one is supposed to be asked for money. The criterion for Covid-19 vaccination as per the MoH is clear,” he said. 

He continued: “This is something we wanted to make clear to all Nairobins; private sector players, staff and particularly to people who may be sneaking the vaccines from the other counties that the punishment will be severe.” he said. 

Although NMS is yet to pinpoint where this is happening, Oluga revealed that on Tuesday they received reports that there were people who had set up a tent somewhere in Lavington and administering the vaccines to unsuspecting clients.

Private sector

“If you do not have that infrastructure, and you are in the private sector, it is very difficult for MoH to authorise you to be one of its satellite facilities to vaccinate.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is a public affair regulated and managed by MoH,” he added.

He said in Nairobi, there are many private facilities that liaise with four government facilities including Kenyatta National Hospital; Mbagathi, Pumwani, and Mama Lucy.

“Private facilities that are around must account for the vaccine; cold chain, number of doses and they must register in the #Chanjo System.

We are aware these things are happening but are not reflecting as Nairobi. So we hope that people have listened, especially if you are a member of the public being hoodwinked to pay, do not pay,” he added.

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