The government has castigated posts and advertisement circulating in social media by an Insurance company alleging that they are offering to cover for “adverse side effects” arising from Covid-19 vaccinations.
“The post is reported as stating that ‘vaccination will help stop the pandemic, get covered against the adverse side effects of the Covid-19 Vaccine……’ Not only is this advert unethical, it denotes and suggests that vaccines are unsafe and need underwriting,” read a statement from the Ministry of Health (MoH) Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe.
Kagwe said that the Ministry of Health has been conducting Covid-19 vaccination since March 2021 insisting that this vaccine is an additional measure to fighting the pandemic that has resulted in the loss of many lives and livelihoods. Kenya is targeting to vaccinate its entire adult population by December 2022.
“All vaccines deployed for Covid-19 vaccination in Kenya have received both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board Emergency Use Listing. These vaccines have been evaluated and found to be safe for use to combat the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Kagwe.
The CS highlighted that Kenya began nationwide vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and so far close to 2 million doses have been administered countrywide.
Kagwe said that this vaccine is safe with mild side effects which include headache, nausea and fever. These side effects are common to other vaccines as well. The Ministry of Health has also put in place additional safety monitoring programs through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
“The Ministry of Health wishes to state that insurance against side effects is not only unnecessary but unethical. No company should claim to provide insurance services against vaccine side effects or side effects of any medicine. An advertisement of such services is misleading to the public and creates unnecessary anxiety among people who are already at risk of severe Covid-19 disease. In addition, the vaccine is offered for free, and no direct expenses should be incurred by clients seeking to be vaccinated,” said Kagwe.
“The Government warns any company or groupings that are out to profiteer from the Covid-19 pandemic that it is criminal and punishable by law in accordance with the Public Health Act. They should therefore desist from the malpractice otherwise the law will take its cause,” warned Kagwe.
The CS urged all Kenyans who are aged above 58 years, teachers, health workers, security officers, public servants and those aged 18 years with comorbidity conditions not to hesitate taking up the Covid-19 vaccine that is being offered nearest to them.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a