Some 1076 people have so far received the first dose of the Astrazeneca vaccine in Mwingi region of Kitui County.
According to the Mwingi Central Sub County Public Health Nurse Geoffrey Muthui, the region received its first batch containing 1000 vaccines on 22nd March, 300 of which were taken to Nuu Sub County Hospital.
Two more batches totaling to 800 vaccines have also been received this month at the Mwingi level 4 hospital.
“Turnout for vaccination has continued to improve. During the first day only 24 people were vaccinated, but on subsequent days the number rose to close to 100 people per day,” said Muthui.
However, he lamented that the turnout was still low possibly due to lack of information regarding the availability of the vaccine, fear of side effects and the general misconceptions about the effects of the vaccine on the recipients’ bodies.
Muthui noted that among the side effects that have so far been reported include low-grade fever, general body weakness, headache, nausea and pain at the injection spot.
“Painkillers are enough to relieve these symptoms although some fade away on their own,” said Muthui, adding that before the vaccine is administered, the prospective recipients are given a ten-minute counselling session during which they are told about the possible side effects of the vaccine, who is eligible for it and the number of doses required.
The recipients are also informed that receiving the vaccine is not a guarantee that they will no longer contract the virus, thus they must continue to observe the other preventive measures such as sanitizing, wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
Currently the county does not have a sensitization program in place and largely relies on the media for dissemination of information regarding the vaccine.
Muthui said that the vaccine is still readily available in both Mwingi Level 4 Hospital and Nuu Sub County Hospital.
“The vaccine is given free of charge to the targeted group, which currently comprises of teachers, security personnel, health workers, the clergy and persons at 58 years of age and above,” he said.
The proof of the same is required upon arrival at the vaccination centers, where the exercise is conducted from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm.
By Kasera Onyango