The government has warned facilities that have been designated as vaccination sites to administer vaccines to all qualifying members of society without discrimination,
Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe Monday said that vaccination is available to eligible members of the society at all referral and select facilities in the counties and the facilities include those owned and managed privately, as well as those that belong to faith-based organisations.
Speaking when giving the Covid-19 situation at Afya House, the CS said “For avoidance of doubt, any eligible officer can turn up for vaccination at any facility designated as a vaccination site and get their jab for free”.
He explained that there have been concerns that some facilities, especially private ones, have been turning away officers not working for them adding the action is unacceptable
“We must however not administer to those not prioritized as vaccines are not yet available for all. Should we receive information to the contrary, we may have no alternative but to consider punishing such facilities to the extent allowable in law, including suspending or revoking practice licences,” Kagwe said.
So far, the CS noted that the government has received over 1.12 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from India to aid in the Corona virus disease.
Out of these 100,000 doses have been generously donated by the Government of India and the rest acquired through the COVAX facility.
“Of this total, 530,000 have already been distributed to various regional centres across the country and so far we have vaccinated a total of 40,359 frontline workers countrywide after commencement of the first phase of the vaccination started two weeks ago,” the CS said.
Kagwe further explained that the vaccine presents a good mitigation against Covid-19 but warned that it takes time to prepare the body to fight against the disease and therefore even those who get vaccinated need to continue observing all other mitigation measures at all times.
He noted that the elderly and those with underlying conditions will also be included in this first phase but the announcement for the exercise will be done soon.
“I have noticed a lot of interest for the vaccine especially in this group. This is as it should be, but I urge you to be a little bit more patient as we get ready for you. Meanwhile, I encourage all frontline workers to turn up to get vaccinated at a facility near them,” Kagwe said.
The CS cautioned Kenyans against forgetting that the country is in a pandemic and added that it’s important that the entire country pulls together in the same direction.
“Since the pandemic struck our country, we have had very good interactions and cooperation from the religious sector as well as the private sector. This cooperation is expected even as we continue with our vaccination exercise,” Kagwe said.
Those to be vaccinated in this first phase are the health workers, teachers and other staff working in institutions of learning, officers in uniform and those working in all ports of entry.
By Wangari Ndirangu