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Ignore lies surrounding Covid-19, Kwale residents urged

Kwale County Health Executive Francis Gwama has called on area residents to ignore the lies and misinformation surrounding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccinations.

Gwama said the populace should stop listening to and relying on non-scientific information from sources and individuals out to create resistance as the vaccine roll out continues.

He also said the devolved unit has ramped up testing fearing a surge in Covid-19 cases saying catching the virus in people who are asymptomatic (non-ill) will slow the spread of the virus.

Speaking to the press in his office, the county health executive said people should take seriously public health directions and protocols in the wake of the coronavirus disease.

“People should only get good health advice from reputable sources and embrace the vaccination campaign,” he said and added that the ultimate aim is to get the whole population immunized and therefore immune to the virus.

He decried that there is a lot of misinformation in the public domain since Covid-19 vaccine rollout began across the 47 Counties in March.

Gwama said people who are reluctant to take the vaccine shots are usually the ones who concoct and peddle misinformation aimed at eroding trust in the vaccine and the health systems that are administering them.

He said rumors, lies and misinformation about the vaccine could pose a challenge to achieving high uptake despite the vaccines having been proven to be safe and efficacious by relevant global and national health institutions.

The health executive said the vaccine is a welcome relief to frontline healthcare workers as they are a high-risk group in the fight against the pandemic that upended everything more than a year ago.

He said people who are out to undermine the vaccination rollout should be ignored and urged those in high-risk groups to continue turning up for the AstraZeneca vaccine shots at designated health centres.

Gwama said the devolved unit launched the first round of vaccination campaign last month targeting healthcare workers, teachers, police officers and elderly persons.

He revealed that the second round of vaccinations will begin in July which he said is necessary to achieve population herd immunity.

“We have launched a successful first round vaccination campaign beginning March and will continue until June seeking to reach out healthcare workers, uniformed officers, teachers and people above the age of 58,” he said.

A Healthcare Worker in Kwale takes the first dose of Covid-19 jab at the Msambweni referral hospital. Photo by Hussein Abdullahi

He said the vaccine roll out is taking place simultaneously at selected health centres in Msambweni, Matuga, Kinango and Lunga Lunga Sub Counties.

He said that the initial disbursement of the Covid-19 doses is aimed at reaching 10,000 people inclusive of those in high-risk groups but so far 2,703 people have received their first dose.

Gwama said even with the arrival and distribution of the vaccines people should not neglect basic pandemic safety measures such as wearing masks, regular washing of hands and maintaining social distancing.

“The development, arrival and administration of the safe vaccine doses do not mean we lower our guard and ignore existing virus precautions” he said.

Those out to undermine the vaccination rollout usually exploit the deaths of those who die of underlying medical conditions after receiving the shots.

By Hussein Abdullahi