Department of Health and Sanitation in Busia, in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), has vaccinated a total 482 inmates at the Busia GK prison against Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The County Prisons Commander, Omondi Adero, revealed that 451 males and 31 females’ convicts have received the Covid-19 vaccine jab, with majority of them waiting for the second dose.
“The vaccination of the inmates will strengthen efforts towards the management of Covid-19 as well as allow the reintroduction of prison visits that were suspended in March 2020,” said the Officer In-Charge of the facility.
Speaking to the press, Adero disclosed that most of the inmates were psychologically affected by the suspension of prison visits, which intended to tame the spread of the disease.
The Busia County Coordinator for Expanded Programme on Immunization, Juliet Kilima, said about 34,000 residents have received the first and second jab of Covid-19 vaccine, stating that with the support from other partners, they are hopeful that by the end of December 2021, a total of 150,000 people will have been vaccinated.
“We appreciate efforts by the media and partners, including the Centre for International Health Education and Biosecurity, who have worked closely with the Health Department, to encourage local residents to come out for the Covid-19 jab. If people are vaccinated they will get herd immunity, making it possible for the Government to open up the economy,” she said.
She emphasized the need for local residents who have not been vaccinated to visit the designated health facilities to get the jab, adding that the Busia Health teams have also taken the vaccination campaigns to market centres and churches.
“We urge the people of Busia to come out in large numbers to be vaccinated considering that vaccines are available in various vaccination sites across the County,” added Ms Kilima.
Inmates appealed to the National Government to consider opening the prisons for public visit, stressing that the suspension of the visits has prevented them from seeing their relatives and other visitors.
“We are happy to have been vaccinated and hope that the government will allow our people to visit us at the prison,” said Evans Wandera, whose remarks were echoed by his colleagues, who also requested the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), to consider them for the ongoing voter registration exercise.
By Absalom Namwalo