Why you need Covid-19 booster jab

Monday, January 3rd, 2022 00:00 | By

The government has officially kicked off the administration of Covid-19 booster doses.

Exercise kicked off in Mombasa and Kwale on Saturday with all members of the priority groups receiving the jab.

Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment chairperson Dr Willis Akhwale said the government has approved the mixing of vaccines recommended for those who have finished six months after their primary series.

“We are actually saying anyone who has finished either two doses of AstraZeneca by June 30, 2021 are the ones to start showing up for the third one,” said Dr Akhwale.

Akhwale said the booster vaccine is crucial if the war on Covid-19 is to be won, saying vaccination minimised transmission rates and adverse effects of the virus.

“Booster doses are supposed to enhance immunity to give you better protection.

Currently, there is evidence that people who have three doses have 90 per cent less chance to get severe disease,” he said.

“Our recommendation is that if during the primary series one experienced adverse effects, they are advised to change the vaccine,” he added.  

This, therefore, paves way for Kenyans who were fully vaccinated by June 30, 2021 for a booster dose of either Moderna or Pfizer.

Task force recommended that the booster vaccine be administered to priority groups first, including the elderly and people living with co-morbidities. 

“We continue to advise people to get a booster dose because Corona is still here with us,” Mombasa Chief Officer for Public Health Pauline Oginga said. She explained that those who received AstraZeneca as their first vaccine will receive a booster jab of either Pfizer or Moderna.

“We have taken the responsibility to ensure we give booster vaccination to those that are fully vaccinated, because Covid-19 is still a threat, and we ask residents to continue getting vaccinated to contain this disease,” said Oginga.

Key pillars

Buoyed by an influx of visitors at the coastal city during the festivities, the drive started on December 31 and has been ongoing at various health centers in Mombasa in line with the Ministry of Health guidelines. 

Oginga confirmed that the county is yet to hit the set vaccination target.  “Mombasa had been given a target of 804,000 and up to date we have only vaccinated  292,000 people. Out of this 200,000 have received first dose  while 92,000  are fully vaccinated,” said Oginga.

Booster vaccine will be first being administered to front line workers including doctors, teachers and security personnel. 

“We want to tell residents that the booster shot has no negative effects, except the normal body reaction.  We are urging people not to be afraid,” said Oginga.

Also targeted for the first vaccination are school-going children above 15 years. 

The country has continued to experience a rise in Covid-19 cases, ostensibly orchestrated by Christmas and New Year festivities where majority of people had dropped guard.

“We are happy that some parents have availed their children above 15 years for vaccination. We are really urging parents to take the responsibility and ensure they their children get the first dose so that as they resume schools they are protected,” Oginga added.

Booster shots are part of measures put in place to strengthen the population’s immunity against the virus.

Almost a fortnight ago, the Ministry of Health announced the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to people who have already completed their primary doses of the life-saving jabs.

On New Year’s eve, President Uhuru Kenyatta received a booster shot of Moderna alongside other top government officials, among them Chief Justice Martha Koome.

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