Kenya to start vaccination of elderly


Kenya decided to immediately start vaccinating people who are 58 years and older against Covid-19 as a third wave of infections stretched hospitals in the East African nation.

The announcement by the health ministry expands the first phase of inoculation that started March 5, targeting 1.25 million frontline workers, including health and security personnel and teachers. The surge over the past couple of weeks, with a positivity rate peaking at 22.1%, necessitated the need to start vaccinating the elderly, according to the government.

“They are at most risk of severe disease and account for 60% of our recorded deaths,” Willis Akhwale, head of the Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Taskforce, said in a statement on Thursday. They “will now be a priority target group under the ongoing phase 1 vaccination exercise.”

Since the program started, Kenya has inoculated 64,100 people with AstraZeneca doses from the Covax initiative that’s designed to ensure equitable access to vaccines around the world. The numbers will pick up as the government resolves some logistical challenges in delivering doses to the last mile, said Jacqueline Kitulu, a doctor and former president of the Kenya Medical Association.

Kenya recorded 1,540 new infections on Wednesday, including a 110-year-old person, according to the health ministry. The country has so far confirmed a total of 124,707 Covid-19 cases and 2,066 deaths.

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