Kenya targets 20,000 daily in vaccination

 

The government has conducted training for additional vaccinators who will be deployed to at least 622 additional healthcare facilities in the ongoing vaccination plan.


The training that was conducted over the weekend aimed to prepare for a surge in numbers of those coming to health facilities for the jab after the government expanded the priority list to include people aged 58 years and above.


The initial plan was to reach frontline workers, among them healthcare workers, teachers and those in the armed forces as they have a higher risk of contracting the virus based on the nature of their job.


But the Health Ministry now says the decision to include the aged in phase one was arrived at after data showed that people in this age bracket are at most risk of severe disease and account for 60 per cent of the deaths recorded in the country.


According to the chairman of the Task Force for Vaccines Deployment Willis Akhwale, the target is to vaccinate at least 20,000 per day beginning this week, a rise from just 3,000 per day during the first week.


The target is to reach 1.25 million Kenyans with the jab by June 30.


“I want to assure Kenyans the vaccination process is going on very well. In fact on Monday we vaccinated over 8,000, Tuesday we went above 10,000, on Wednesday we were near 9,000 by 3pm so we are definitely increasing every day,” Akhwale said.


"During the first week when the exercise began, on average we were doing 3,00 per day. The second week we have been doing 3,700, we went to 5,000 and now we are doing 10,000. Next week we are aiming at 20,000 vaccinations per week and it is all falling to our plan,” he added.


Data from the Health Ministry shows that more than 90,340 had been vaccinated by Friday.


With senior government officials including President Uhuru Kenyatta and Health CS Mutahi Kagwe having come out and taken the jab in public, it is expected that the move will boost confidence among Kenyans and make them come out in large numbers to take the vaccine.


There have been reports of vaccine hesitancy among those targeted in phase one of the drive, sparking fear that the doses might expire leading to huge losses.


The vaccines received under the Covax facility on March 3 have an expiry date of June 28.


The ministry has reported that so far no reports of adverse reactions have been recorded since the exercise commenced.


“Like any other medicine, vaccines can cause mild side effects such as low grade fever or pain or redness at the injection site. Mild reactions go away within a few days on their own. Severe or long lasting side effects are extremely rare,” Kagwe said.


“Vaccines are continually monitored for safety to detect rare adverse events. Vaccines do not inhibit one from undertaking their normal activities or affect any aspects of their diet. No adverse events of significant have been reported so far since the exercise began,” he added.


The country is currently experiencing a third wave that has seen an exponential rise in the number of hospitalizations and cases of critical care patients, a situation experts say is likely being fuelled by the new variants.


Already hospitals are overstretched and ICU beds running out, with the government reactivating the home-based care for the management of asymptomatic patients.

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