Take the vaccine when you get a chance, it’s the ultimate saviour from Covid death
By MEGAN ANYANGO
On Wednesday, the country recorded its highest new positivity rate of the deadly coronavirus disease this year, among the highest daily infections since the virus hit our shore exactly a year ago. 713 new cases had been witnessed that day. And the prospects are not looking good at all.
While announcing the new figures in what has become a daily ritual for the past year, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe also noted that twelve of our compatriots had lost their lives in the preceding 24 hours, meaning one person died from Covid-19 every two hours, also among the highest in a long time.
The number of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital has increased to 563 in the recent past, with 1,588 on home-based care, some 90 patients in ICU and another 28 on supplementary oxygen.
The CS also confirmed that Kenya was experiencing the third wave of the pandemic, succeeding the second that picked last November. And medical experts are warning that this third wave could be more devastating than the previous two.
“We are distressingly scaling the red zone today, being highest at 14 per cent positivity rate. It can escalate, with many boarding schools reporting outbreaks and releasing learners back to the community,” Lancet Pathologists Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Kalebi was quoted.
With this ugly state of affairs, the Council of Governors are now calling for the introduction of stringent measures to control the spread of the killer disease. In mind, the 47 heads of counties have things like lockdowns- which means cessation of cross county travels, stricter and more restrictive curfew hours, stoppage of gatherings of any form, among others.
If the wish of the governors is granted, which should be the case given the grave nature of this disease, then we could see the country being closed yet again with Government and private offices being shut and millions of Kenyans sent to destitution. The economy will be collapsed and tourism, which is still struggling to pick itself up, will relapse.
The only glimmer of hope in this darkness that Covid-19 has pushed us into is a vaccine. Luckily there’s one already with us here and the Government is indeed going round the country injecting us, albeit in some order. We may not have enough doses to go round the 50 million plus of us, yet. But at least we are on course and hopeful that before the current stock is exhausted, more will be here. We need it and, thankfully, the Government is working to make it available.
But there is a dark devil hanging over the country. And we must resist his temptation and eradicate him from our midst. The prophets of doom, among them those who should know better, are dismissing the vaccine based on no plausible evidence.
The good thing is that more credible authorities are speaking out and advising you and I to strive and get the jab. We should listen.
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church in the world actually says refusing to take the jab is tantamount to killing oneself. The Pope, who together with his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, were among the earliest takers of the vaccine is said to have, rightly, described it as “lifesaving and an ethical obligation” adding that the refusal to take it is suicidal.
And local bishops have taken the que, as they should. The bishops have promised to make all hospitals run by the Church available for administering the vaccine. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) urged faithful to go ahead and take the vaccine.
“We are in favour of the vaccines and want to fight Covid-19. It is licit and ethical to receive the vaccines” they said.
The Kenya Medical Association, which is the umbrella body of all medical practitioners, has also endorsed the vaccine. Dr Were Onyino, president of the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), and Secretary General Dr Simon Kigondu say resistance to the vaccine is a sign of ignorance, lack of knowledge. “Lack of knowledge and fear that there isn’t enough information about the safety of the vaccines is making them jittery,” Dr Kigondu is quoted.
Anybody who still has doubts about the safety of the vaccine should just look at those who took it on the day the vaccination drive was launched and make a choice. Director-General at the Ministry of Health Dr Patrick Amoth, Dr Evanson Kamuri, chief executive of Kenyatta National Hospital, Dr Kennedy Koech, a Maxillo-facial Surgeon at the hospital, Jemimah Katama, infection prevention and control medical officer also at KNH; Dr Collins Tabu, Health Ministry’s Head of Division for Vaccines and Immunisation Programme; and Lucy Kipkemei, a nurse at KNH.
It is difficult to understand what would motivate anyone to campaign against a life-saving and globally sought-after process as this vaccine, but being the matter of life and death that it is, one is better advised to ignore such and strive to take the jab, if you are lucky to get it.
In the meantime, do not forget to follow the year-long safety protocols. Keep social distance, mask up, sanitise and wash your hands regularly. That is your first line of defence against the virus. Vaccination is the ultimate.
Ms Anyango is a social commentator. [email protected]