State faces uphi*l task to vaccinate 10m Kenyans

Monday, November 8th, 2021 06:00 | By
NMS Health workers administer Covid-19 jabs to members of the public at Nairobi Bus Station recently. PD/FILE

An estimated 5.7 million Kenyans have so far been vaccinated against Covid-19 as the government races against time to hit the 10 million target by Christmas.

Latest data from the Ministry of Health shows as of November 6 (Saturday), 5,624,230 vaccines had been administered across the country.

Going by the average of 61,000 people being vaccinated daily, the government faces an uphill task to meet the Christmas target despite Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe’s recent optimism it will be attained.

“Of these, 3,787,211 were partially vaccinated while those fully vaccinated were 1,837, 019,” Kagwe said in yesterday’s Covid-19 update. Uptake of the second dose jumped by 0.2 per cent to record at 45.5 per cent on Saturday from 45.3 per cent in 24 hours. Meanwhile, the proportion of adults fully vaccinated, the CS noted, stood at 6.7 per cent. “The government is working towards vaccinating a targeted population of 27, 246, 033,” he reiterated.

Kagwe’s confidence is drawn from the recent shipment of more vaccines with the stocks now standing at nine million doses.

National Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment Chairperson Dr Willis Akhwale said the country expects six million more doses before the end of the year.

“We are expecting more vaccines in the next few weeks. Remember, at the end of October we received a further 990,990 doses of the Pfizer vaccine,” he said.

Various types

Akhwale said the consignment received on October 29 was the first of over five million doses of various types of vaccines comprising Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson expected from the US between now and December.

“This will be a big boost on the ongoing accelerated vaccination drive,” he added.

Data from the ministry indicate that Nairobi leads with 19.8 per cent of the population fully vaccinated followed by Nyeri (17.4), Kiambu (10.9), Nyandarua (9.2), Uasin Gishu (9.0), Kisumu (8.1) and Mombasa (7.9) while, Mandera, Wajir and Marsabit are the least counties with less than one per cent of the population fully vaccinated. 

Again, Nairobi is leading at 34.4 per cent of its population receiving the first dose and Marsabit being the least with 1.4 percent. Akhwale noted the country could be doing better with the avalanche of vaccines currently available.

At the same time, 20 people tested positive from a sample size of 3,444 tested in the last 24 hours. This saw the positivity rate decline to 0.6 per cent from 1.6 on Friday.

Declining number

He took note of the declining number of Covid infections, but at the same pointed out that it had come to the attention of the ministry that a majority of Kenyans were assuming the situation is normal and become complacent. “Even though cases are going down, the level of complacency is also increasing. The end result here could be counterproductive,” he said.

At the end of last week, the government issued new measures that are likely to prompt more people to seek the vaccines.

In the new measures, the Ministry of Health directed bars, places of worship and hotels to demand for the Covid-19 vaccination certificate from their clients before they access the premises.

Pressed with limited time to attain the end of December target, the government has also announced other new measures to rump up this process.

In a dispatch, Kagwe announced that businesses and premises operating in areas prone to crowds like hotels, bars, lodgings, sporting activities and places of worship should consider the requirement of a vaccination certificate for entry into their premises.

This, he pointed out, is in line with global practice, and will be extended to political rallies where politicians, as a matter of policy, are expected to mobilise their supporters. 

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