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Unvaccinated fill up ICU wards with Covid cases

Thursday, September 16th, 2021 00:00 |
Covid cases statistics. Photo/Illustration: Michael Mosota

More than 60 out of 70 Covid patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in four private health facilities in Nairobi between August 1 and September 12, were not vaccinated.

A survey in those 53 days shows 64 of the ICU admissions were unvaccinated, while there were only six partially vaccinated patients.

Significantly, at the Avenue Healthcare, The Nairobi Women’s, Ladnan and Metropolitan hospitals, Nairobi branches, there were no admissions for persons who had completed two doses of the disease vaccination during the period.

The report released yesterday by the Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) also indicated that during the same period, 97 out of 102 Covid admissions in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) were unvaccinated. The remaining five were partially vaccinated patients.

KHF chairman Kanyenje Gakombe noted that the ongoing mass vaccination drive in the country had helped a great deal in containing the spread of the disease and its severity on patients.

“The majority of hospitalisations and ICU cases are among unvaccinated people,” he noted.

Fully vaccinated 

The data revealed there was only one fully vaccinated person who was admitted to the HDU after contracting the disease.

Similarly, out of 482 admissions to the general wards in the same period, 423 patients were not vaccinated, while 43 had received their first dose.

The data further showed only 16 admissions were those who had taken two doses of the vaccine. 

In total, out of all the 654 admissions, there were 584 unvaccinated, 53 partially vaccinated and 17 patients who had completed their two doses.

Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi (left) and Kenya Private Sector Alliance chief executive Carole Kariuki (right) during the media briefing on the commencement of Phase One of the private sector-led Covid-19 vaccinations in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

“The bottom line is that the Covid-19 vaccines are effective in preventing both infections and deaths,” Dr Gakombe said

Covid-19 vaccinations have been largely voluntary, and many people have not fully come forward to get the vaccine for one reason or another.

“When someone who is unvaccinated is exposed to the virus, protection comes from the body’s inherent immune system or related factors of a human body, which are responsible for rapid, non-specific response to pathogens and harmful substances,” said Dr Patrick Amoth, the director general at the Ministry of Health.

A month ago, it emerged that unvaccinated patients were the worst hit by Covid-19 infections especially during the fourth wave, which saw the Delta variant ravage the country.

“A month ago, we had a shortage of ICU beds, this time we didn’t have a major shortage in oxygen because a lot of hospitals have installed plants, both in the public and private health sector,” Dr Gakombe explained.

He said there was also a shortage of HDU beds about a month back.

“The numbers have since come down, and most facilities now have unoccupied beds and especially the admission to critical care; that number is substantially down,” he stated.

He said the real problem from the pandemic is the patients who need oxygen and ICU facilities. 

“However, it is important to note that the real problem with Covid-19 is not the majority who have been vaccinated but a small population that needs oxygen, hospitalisation, and ICU care,” Dr Gakombe said.

In recent weeks, as the delta variant swept across the country, women and especially those who were pregnant, Dr Gakombe said, were not spared.

“The health facilities were getting patients who are younger and pregnant women getting Covid-19, and a number losing their lives around the age of 30 to 40,” he added.

He noted that this is what led to the vaccination schedule being changed so that women who were pregnant could be included in those who should get vaccinated.

“This is because it was safer for them to be vaccinated because the first three waves were more severe for elderly people, but we noted a change in the demographics in this one with a higher number of women and women who were pregnant getting infected and suffering from severe Covid-19 symptoms and complications,” he added.

He said it is important that every pregnant woman gets the vaccine.

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