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Gov’t vaccination efforts reduce fatality rate

The COVID 19 case fatality rate has marginally reduced from 2.1 per cent to 2.0 per cent following the current vaccination efforts and improved case management of Covid 19, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has said.

Arrival of 880,640 doses of Moderna vaccine donated by the US government to Kenya. Photo by Wangari Ndirangu

This includes increased availability of oxygen at facilities, the CS added, saying they hoped to reduce this further by maintaining vaccination efforts and ensuring the availability of oxygen in health facilities.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache when receiving a donation of 880,460 doses of Moderna vaccine from the United States Government, the CS added that even as government scaled up vaccination programme, they remained focused on ensuring that those at the highest risk of infection such as the frontline workers and elderly were protected.

Analysis of data shows that 70 per cent of the 4,497 deaths reported so far were occurring in persons over 58 years of age followed by those above 50 years. “It is therefore disheartening to observe that despite prioritizing the vaccinations of persons above 58 years who are estimated to be 2.6 million, only 9.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.

It is a matter of urgency that we get 2.3 million people in this category quickly vaccinated to protect their lives,” Kagwe said.

The analyzed data, the CS confirmed showed that it’s important to prioritize these groups and have them vaccinated as quickly as possible, given the high mortality among persons above 50 years of age and the risk of severe disease and death among adults with underlying medical conditions.

The CS has directed the prioritization of these two categories for vaccinations with immediate effect and strongly encouraged them to ensure that they got fully vaccinated at the earliest opportunity.

He also appealed to those in the prioritized groups especially the over 58 to take charge of their health and present themselves to the nearest vaccination post now that the vaccines are becoming more available and provided free of charge by the government

As of today, Kenya has received a total of 3,610,600 doses of covid-19 vaccines and Kagwe said the arrival of the Covid-19 Moderna vaccine today therefore marked yet another milestone in the country’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“Moderna is the second vaccine to be deployed in the country after we started administering AstraZeneca in March this year and the shipment is the first of the of 3.5 million doses of vaccines to Kenya by the US government which include 1,760,780 doses of Moderna and 1,760,850 doses of Pfizer scheduled to be delivered mid next month,” he said.

Kagwe thanked the US Government for the donation and further thanked the governments of the United Kingdom, Denmark, France and Greece who have so far donated a cumulative total of 1,130,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

According to the CS, the first phase of the vaccination programme that ended in June 2021, was hampered by global supply constraints beyond the countries control but despite this, Kenya is making good and steady progress towards achieving its goal of protecting its citizens against this pandemic.

Arrival of 880,640 doses of Moderna vaccine donated by the US government to Kenya. Photo by Wangari Ndirangu

“So far, 1,615,687 Kenyans have received their 1st dose and 780,377 Kenyans are now fully vaccinated. We continue to be encouraged by the increasing uptake of the vaccines in the country,” he said

Kagwe confirmed that last week the country attained a daily vaccination rate of 40,000 people per day and on Friday, the country hit a record of over 70,000 vaccinations in a single day placing it on course to achieving the target of administering 150,000 doses daily before the end of September.

“Among our other priority groups, we have now fully vaccinated about 65,000 of our security forces at 53.2 per cent, 130,000 health workers at 67.2 per cent and 121,000 teachers at 47 per cent,” the CS said.

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Eric Kneedler said that the donation builds on the United States partnership with the Government of Kenya in response to COVID-19.

“These life-saving vaccines will fill an important need at a critical time in Kenya’s fight against this pandemic,” he said

UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman said vaccines available through COVAX were safe and effective urging all Kenyans to get vaccinated as soon as advised to do so by the Ministry of Health.

“UNICEF is delighted to offer our full support in getting these vital COVID-19 vaccines to Kenya. We urge the international community to continue supporting Kenya to further increase the availability of vaccines. Globally, no one is safe until everyone is safe,” Zaman added

This generous donation of Moderna vaccines from the US Government, she noted, is a welcome boost to Kenya’s ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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