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Kisumu targets 7,000 as first phase of Covid-19 vaccination is rolled out

Kisumu County has rolled out Covid-19 vaccination for health workers with calls for those who received the jab and the public not to lower their guard as new cases continue to be reported in the area.


The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health Prof. Boaz Nyunya was the first to receive the jab and asked health workers from the public and private sector to take the jab.


Prof. Nyunya said that the campaign targets to vaccinate 7, 000 people in the first phase adding that another consignment of 7, 500 vaccines is expected in the county soon to benefit more people at high risk of contracting the disease.


Speaking at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOORTH) on Tuesday during the launch of the exercise, Prof. Nyunya cautioned the health workers and members of the public against abandoning other measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus.


“This vaccine in itself is not the end of the virus. The virus is still here with us and this is only an additional measure to contain it. Therefore we must stick to the covid-19 protocols to ensure that the virus is contained,” he said.


The county government, he added, was working closely with the national government and development partners to ensure that the vaccine is administered in accordance with the set standards.


Kisumu County Director of Public Health Fred Oluoch who also received the jab asked the health workers and members of the public not to fear but take the jab so as not to contract and infect patients at their facilities.


The vaccine, he said was safe and will go a long way in giving impetus to the fight against the disease in the country.


“This vaccine has got approval from the Food Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States of America (USA) and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) of Kenya. Therefore it is safe,” he said.


To contain further spread of the virus, Oluoch said the county public health teams have been put on high alert to ensure that all regulations put in place by the ministry of health are being enforced. “We must continue wearing masks, washing hands, using sanitizers and keeping social distance in order to win the war against this deadly virus,” he said.


Centre for International Health, Education and Biosecurity(CIHEB) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Emily Koech, said her organization was working with the national and county governments to ensure that the roll out is successful.


“Kenya has a very elaborate and well established vaccination program through the National Vaccine and Immunization Program at the ministry of health. It is through this platform that this vaccine is being rolled out,” she said.


CIHEB, she added, has distributed education materials about the vaccine and will continue to engage health workers to ensure that they are well trained to carry on with the exercise.


The Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) Committee of Eminent Persons on Covid-19 Chairman Prof. Khama Rogo said the bloc which comprises 14 counties was still at high risk with cases expected to surge in April and May.


He attributed the expected surge to cross-border activities, the Christmas season and reopening of schools calling for stringent measures to curb further spread of the virus in the area. “We must ensure that those who have been vaccinated are not careless while the others must stick to the containment measures put in place by the ministry of health to win the war against this virus,” he said.


by Terry Faith/Chris Mahandara

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