At least 90 per cent of inmates countrywide have been vaccinated against Covid-19 as part of the government’s effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic in correctional facilities.
Speaking at Kisii GK Prisons in Kisii town, Chief Administrative Secretary for Interior, Winnie Guchu said the uptake of the vaccine among inmates was more positive compared to prison staff which stands at 80 per cent.
“This week has been a thorough push to make sure that we reach the 100 per cent vaccination among inmates, prison officers and their families by today, end of the day,” said Guchu.
The CAS lauded county governments for sending their staff to undertake the vaccination in prisons and update the records as required through comprehensive reports.
Guchu noted that prison visits have been halted since Covid-19 struck and inmates have not interacted with their families at all, leading to distress and instability inside the correctional facilities.
She said there is more peace in the prison when inmates are able to communicate and talk to their families, and therefore, the need to resume the prison visits.
“With vaccination, you will find that even if you get in contact with coronavirus, it doesn’t affect the person strongly. For us to be able to allow for visits, we must have all our inmates and staff members vaccinated,” Guchu said.
She pointed out that the government will come up with different visits frameworks for the visits in prison and spaces for visits will be in line with Covid-19 protocols of maintaining social distance and providing sanitation.
The CAS was accompanied by officials from the Kenya Prison Service including Commissioner General Wycliffe Ogalo, Kisii County Prison Boss Francis Opondo and Kisii County Police Commander Francis Kooli among others.
The mass vaccination exercise in all correctional centers across the country was launched two weeks ago to allow the reopening of prisons for public visits.
By Mercy Osongo and Carolyne Omwamba