Mad rush as over 150,000 people get Covid jab in a day

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021 00:00 | By
Members of the public receive Covid vaccination recently. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

A record 154,887 Kenyans yesterday received the Covid-19 jab as the country races to achieve the 10 million target by December 25.

Figures from the Ministry of Health indicated that a total of 9,057,426 Kenyans had received the jab as of yesterday, up from 8, 902,539 the previous day. 

Yesterday’s record turnout coincided with the December 21 deadline that had been set by the government for Kenyans to get the jab or miss public services.

The High Court, however, suspended the directive issued by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on November 21, blocking unvaccinated Kenyans from accessing services starting yesterday. 

Out of the 9,057,426 people who have so far received the jab, 5,397,849 are partially vaccinated. 

“The uptake of the second dose stands at 56.2 per cent, while the proportion of adults fully vaccinated is 13.4 per cent,” Kagwe said yesterday as the Covid-19 positivity rate dropped to 27.8 per cent, from 29.6 per cent recorded on Monday.

The CS also reported that 2,844 people had tested positive from a sample size of 10,215 tested in the last 24 hours. 

“From the cases, 2,561 are Kenyans while 283 are foreigners,” the CS said.

Kagwe also said 404 patients are admitted in various health facilities countrywide while 6,339 are under Home-Based Isolation and Care.

On Monday, US suspended the issuance of Visa services to Kenyans until after New Year, attributing the decision to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

On the same day, authorities in Dubai effected a 48-hour ban on travellers from Kenya, as the Omicron variant caused travel chaos across the world.

Routine services

Restrictions by the US Government and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority stopping Kenyans from setting foot in Dubai over the 48-hour period came as the Covid-19 positivity rate shot to 29.6 per cent, up from 24.4 per cent on Sunday.

The US Government announced that it was cancelling scheduled visa appointments from December 20  to January 3, a move likely to affect Kenyans seeking to travel to or from the US for Christmas and New Year festivities.

“In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the Covid-19  pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all US Embassies and Consulates,” stated a statement from the US.

The statement indicated routine visa services will resume “as soon as possible” but was not specific on the possible date.

“If you had a regular visa appointment scheduled from December 20 to January 3, 2022, your visa appointment is canceled,” statement further stated.

Emirates Airlines on its part announced that all customers from Kenya will not be accepted to travel during the period of the ban, which took effect at 10.30hrs Local Time in Dubai (Monday, 9.30am in Kenya).

“As per the directive from Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, all air transport services with inbound and transit passenger movements to the emirate of Dubai from any point in the Republic of Kenya are temporarily suspended for 48 hours effective December 20, 2021 at 10.30hrs Local Time Dubai. Customers will not be accepted for travel on Emirates flights at Nairobi during this time,” the Emirates said in a statement.

It remains to be seen whether normal services will be restored upon the expiry of the 48 hours at 9.30am today.

The airline had, however, clarified that outbound passenger operations from Dubai to Nairobi remain unaffected.

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