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Ramp up vaccination to enable Kenya return to

By Gathu Kaara
Monday, May 3rd, 2021
Covid-19 vaccination.
In summary

The government has finally relaxed some of the stringent containment measures it had imposed on March 26, when covid infections were spiking, stretching hospitals.

However, the country is not out of the woods yet, and there has to be sustained strict adherence to health protocols.

The delicate balance between lives and livelihoods will continue to provide the biggest headache to governments, and this is the exam that presidents will be sitting until the pandemic is over.

After one year of covid, its science is now pretty well mapped out. It is now clear that the magic bullet against covid is vaccination.

Two countries that have vaccinated their populations very aggressively are now reaping the fruits.

The first country is Israel, which has the highest vaccination rate in the world. During its third wave in December 2020, Israel was registering up to 10,000 infections per day.

By February, after aggressively vaccinating its citizens, it reopened its economy, and released them from having to wear masks.

Currently, over half of Israeli citizens have had at least two doses of the vaccine, and the Government is now preparing to vaccinate its population below the age of 18 years   when the World health Organisation (WHO) issues guidance on vaccination of children and teenage

In May, Israel will allow entry to international travelers and tourists who have been vaccinated.

Despite religious festivals taking place after the reopening, Israel’s daily infections have fallen below the hundred mark, and it has started recording zero deaths.

The other country is the UK. It leads vaccinations in Europe, having administered over 17 million vaccinations to at least a quarter of its population.

The impact has been massive, with a huge fall in daily infections and mortality from Covid.

Britain has now set May 14 as the date for fully reopening the economy from one of the most stringent lockdowns in Europe. 

So, the science works. Vaccination is the way to go.

What this means is that the Government of Kenya must now focus on urgently vaccinating at least 16 million Kenyans.

As the vaccination campaigns in Europe and America reach a critical mass shortly, vaccines will soon become readily available. 

Kenya must get enough vaccine doses for at least 30 per cent of its adult population, about 16 million people.

This is the threshold set by the WHO for countries to safely reopen their economies. This is Kenya’s most urgent task to slow covid spread and resurgence.

Critically, the vaccines keeps recipients from progressing to severe disease or even need for hospitalisation if infected, releasing the healthcare system from the type of pressure experienced during the third wave.

However, until Kenya has fully vaccinated its population to achieve herd immunity, it will be well warned to heed the lessons of India.

India tackled coronavirus like a demon in 2020, with one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world.

As a result, the world marveled at how this country of 1.38 billion people kept the virus infections at rates only being seen in Africa.

In January 2021, India was registering daily infections of 15,000 and negligible deaths. The Government declared victory, and threw caution to the winds.

Political rallies and religious festivals featuring millions countrywide were held. Like a thief, covid was lying in wait, and rose like a phoenix. 

With shocking speed, India’s covid infections started rising in March. By April, there was a major spike, with daily infections hitting and surpassing 400,000-and climbing, while daily deaths have now hit 4,000- and rising.

Its capital, New Delhi, looks like one huge funeral pyre, with fires burning everywhere- a most distressing sight. There seems no end to the crisis.

The Kenya Government must be warned. Until it vaccinates enough Kenyans to achieve herd immunity, political gatherings- even for BBI referendum- and other festivals must remain banned.

As long as one infected person is loitering within the community, covid is lurking and waiting. 

It is encouraging President Uhuru Kenyatta categorically stated that political gatherings remain banned until further notice. [email protected]

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