Busia: Families finally allowed to visit prisoners since 2020 after Covid-19 vaccination

Thursday, October 7th, 2021 15:48 | By
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and his health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe look on as an inmate at Mathari Mental Hospital is vaccinated in Nairobi on Tuesday, October 5.PHOTO/COURTESY.

Families in Busia can now visit their imprisoned kin after the county health department conducted a Covid-19 vaccination exercise in Busia prison.

In the Thursday, October 7 exercise, about 482 prisoners were vaccinated against Covid-19 whose outbreak saw them completely cut off from visits by friends and family since the pandemic hit the country in March 2020.

According to the officer in charge of Busia prisons, Amondi Odero, 451 men and 32 women were vaccinated with the help of the county government and the Kenya Red Cross society.

"We have 451 prisoners in this facility and our aim is to ensure all of them are vaccinated by the end of the day," Odero, the officer in charge of Busia prisons said.

The prisoners welcomed the move by the government, stating that after being vaccinated, they will have the chance to interact in the correction facility as they used to before.

"We have been moving freely inside here since the outbreak of Coronavirus. But now that we have finally been vaccinated, we can interact and even see our families," Evans Wandera, an inmate said.

The vaccination of prisoners in Busia comes a day after the government run a similar exercise for all mentally ill offenders.

Speaking on Tuesday in Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the facility is offering vaccination to the elderly, teachers, security personnel and other priority staff.

"Hosting the Maximum Security Unit for Mentally ill offenders and the only referral institution specializing in mental health and psychiatry training in Kenya, investment here will go a long way in providing quality mental health," Matiang'i said.

Mathari hospital is the only facility that admits inmates with mental illness in the country.

Kenya has so far vaccinated 3,935,671 people since the Covid-19 vaccination started earlier this year.

In a statement on Tuesday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said some 947,543 Kenyans have so far been fully inoculated while 2,988,128 have been partially vaccinated.

Kenya has so far received 6.3 million Covid-19 vaccines.

Of these, 880,460 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were donated by the United States of America.

Another 3.4 million AstraZeneca vaccines have arrived in Kenya.

Other vaccines doses now available in Kenya include; Johnson and Johnson (141,600), Pfizer (795,600) and Sinopharm (795,600).

All of the vaccines in the country are from donors.

The first vaccination began on 5th March 2021 with county vaccinations kicking off on 8th of March 2021. The second dose vaccination began on 28th May 2021.

The government is conducting the vaccination free of charge and is aiming to vaccinate at least 10 million adults by the end of the year.

The rollout of the national vaccination campaign is being led by the Ministry of Health, with support from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and other partners.

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