PWDs added in State list for priority vaccinations

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 00:00 |
Health CAS Rashid Aman together with Dr Marc Bulterys, CDC Country Director representing the US ambassador during the arrival of the Moderna vaccine yesterday morning at JKIA. Photo/KNA

The government has expanded the priority vaccination list to include people living with disability and those aged 18 years old who have underlying conditions.

Assurance by the State came yesterday as the flow of Covid-19 vaccines continued   with another donation of 880,320 from the US government. 

Total number of Covid-19 vaccines in the country now stands at 5.1 million doses.

When the vaccination exercise kicked off in March, the government named health workers, teachers and security personnel as those on the priority list. 

A month later, the list was revised to include persons aged 58 and above.

The decision to include the two groups into the priority list according to the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Task Force chairman, Dr Willis Akhwale was necessary due to their vulnerable conditions.

“The inclusion of people living with disabilities and those above 18 and have underlying conditions occupy a distinct position in our society,” Dr Akhwale said yesterday at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

He said the revised deployment plan, which will be out this week, includes strategies such as use of outreach programmes through health facilities in highly densely populated areas.

This strategy will be used especially to reach people living with disability.

“On this one, we want health facilities to conduct about two outreaches a week.

Another strategy is the one we launched in Kitale recently, where we will heavily rely on community health workers to list the elderly who can be reached through the outreaches,” he said.

Another plan, he said will be to use the in-reach strategy. This, Dr Akhwale said will involve having the elderly vaccinated when they visit their special clinics for critical care in health facilities.

“Majority of the elderly people, have developed health facility phobia for fear they would compromise their already deteriorated health.

But we want to ensure that when they attend their visits we vaccinate them,” he added.

The ministry feels that the constraints the country has been experiencing in the past few months arising from the global supply of the vaccines, is slowly fading away with the arrival of such donations.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the Ministry was now making steady progress in the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

“As of today 2,050,377 Kenyans have received their first dose and 812,151 Kenyans are now fully vaccinated.

The uptake of vaccines in the country is very encouraging as majority of Kenyans have responded well to our call to come out and get vaccinated,” the CS said in a statement delivered at JKIA by CAS Dr Rashid Aman.

He raised hopes that target of vaccinating 10 million adults by the end of the year was well on course noting the rate at which the campaign was moving.

But to get all these target groups vaccinated, Kagwe said the national government will rely on the county authorities to help in mobilising communities.

“Once again we want to appeal to our County Governments to support the National Government efforts by mobilising communities to get vaccinated,” he added.

The CS noted that if everyone is vaccinated then the country will be safe.

“We shall then be able to resume our normal business. Remember no one is safe until all of us are safe and have been vaccinated against this deadly virus,” Kagwe stated as close to 90, 000 persons are yet to complete their AstraZeneca vaccine dose.

Last week, the ministry expressed concerns that about 100,000 people captured on the M-Chanjo system as having received the first AstraZeneca vaccine dose, had not turned up for the second dose. But by the weekend, 10,000 had heeded to the call.

“I want to reiterate our call to our people, particularly those who have not been vaccinated to turn up and get vaccinated now that we are having more vaccines.

In the same breath, we appeal to those who took their first dose and are due for the second dose but have not turned up for it to please do so,” he added in his notes.

This call is in tandem with the fact that although the first dose provides one with some protection, complete defence only comes about when one is fully vaccinated.

“Remember, for us to fully re-open our economy, we need to either have herd immunity or have our entire adult population fully vaccinated.

The Government is doing its part to acquire vaccines; Kenyans should play their part in getting fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” the CS said.

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