Teachers surpass Covid jab uptake target, says Akhwale

By , People Daily Digital
Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia (second left) watches as teachers get vaccinated at Nakuru Level Five Hospital, recently. Photo/FILE

A total of 345,000 teachers have taken the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine over the last one month, surpassing the government target of 330,000 teachers.

The latest report by the Ministry of Health shows that 345,000 teachers in public schools have taken the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while 125,274 had completed both doses.

The remaining teachers are expected to take their second dose in the next two weeks in line with the six week window advised by health experts. 

National Covid-19 vaccine deployment task force chairman, Dr Willis Akhwale yesterday attributed the increased uptake of the doses to the improved flow of vaccines into the country.

“We have witnessed a high uptake of the first dose by teachers in the last one month,” he said last evening as 204 people tested positive for the disease from a sample size of 2,963 tested in the last 24 hours. 

The positivity rate remained at 6.9 percent for two days consecutively.

Private sector

With the improved supply of vaccines, already 150,000 teachers in private schools have also taken the first dose after the government expanded the vaccination target to this group.

Another consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in the country yesterday when the government received 210,000 doses from Poland.

“The arrival of the doses is a welcome boost to the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination programme,” Dr Akhwale said as the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) plans to commence phase one of the private sector led Covid-19 vaccinations tomorrow.

He said the event will be presided over by Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache and Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr Mercy Mwangangi.

Kepsa chairperson Flora Mutahi and CEO Carole Kariuki will give an elaborate plan and modalities put in place to ensure a maximum number of employees are vaccinated in the shortest time possible.

Dr Akhwale confirmed yesterday that half of the 141,600 J&J vaccine doses received last week were allocated to Kepsa which had mobilised Sh1 billion for the procurement through the Africa Union platform.

Already, a total of 3,099,807 vaccines have been administered across the country as of Sunday.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said last evening that of these, total first doses were 2,270,827 while second doses were 828,980.

“The uptake of the second dose among those who received their first dose was at 36.5 per cent with the majority being males at 56 per cent while females were at 44 percent,” he added. The proportion of adults who are fully vaccinated hit 3.04 per cent.

An estimated 137, 115 health workers; 125, 274 teachers and 70, 182 security officers have been vaccinated so far. Those aged 58 years and above who have been vaccinated are, 244,998 and 251,411 others.

On August 17, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) gave teachers seven days to go for the jab or face disciplinary action.

“We will be asking our county directors and regional directors the number of teachers they have facilitated to get the vaccination and how many teachers are not vaccinated and for whatever reasons, because the Ministry of Health has assured us that there are enough vaccines,” Nancy Macharia, the Commission Chief Executive Officer said.

By then, only 33 per cent of the teachers had been vaccinated. However, immediately the directive was issued, the following day teachers thronged vaccination centres to beat the deadline.

Priority list

Health officials had warned that school children are at risk if teachers and staff are not vaccinated.

Macharia expressed concern with the ‘reluctance’ amid the slow pace that had been witnessed so far.

She said the number of those who had taken both the first and second doses, was inspiring and needed to be enhanced.

She raised concern that teachers had not fully embraced the vaccine despite the government placing them among the frontline workers, therefore, putting them on top of the priority list as far as mitigation measures are concerned.

An estimated 178,734 and 110, 42 teachers had received their first and second doses respectively by August 14.

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