The government targets to vaccinate more than 50,000 inmates and prison officers in all correctional centers across the country to pave way for prisons re-opening in the coming weeks.
Interior CS, Dr. Fred Matiang’i said the prisons department has received 100,000 doses of covid-19 vaccines from the Ministry of Health to undertake the vaccination exercise expected to be complete by this weekend in readiness for opening the prisons doors for public visits.
The prisons were closed last year following a directive from the President that was aimed at ensuring the safety of all the inmates and also control the spread of the deadly virus in the already congested facilities.
Matiang’i however regretted that prisons services lost 17 of its officers and 15 inmates to Covid- pandemic, but assured that the government in partnership with other players have put in place adequate measures to contain and control the spread of the deadly virus in all 133 correctional facilities in the country.
He was happy that the government through the Ministry of Health and other development partners have put up adequate isolation centers and wards in all correctional facilities which he said has seen the prisons register over 91% covid recovery among the infected.
The CS who was speaking at the Naivasha Maximum prisons during the launch of the massive vaccination exercise, urged the inmates to take up the jab and assured them of the safety of the vaccines contrary to rumors circulating in the social media.
On the on-going prisons reforms, Matiang’i said the government will pump in an additional Sh200 million from the enterprise fund to revamp prisons industrial facilities including purchase of modern machinery and equipment to help empower all the inmates and support prisons in the efforts to become self-reliant in terms of food security and income generating activities.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the government targets to spend 5.8 million doses of vaccines on Kenyans before the forthcoming 58th Mashujaa Day celebration and urged Kenyans within the set categories to turn up to be vaccinated.
The CS said inmates like any other Kenyans will be vaccinated against the deadly virus and urged the inmates to take the jab and ignore misleading information on the safety of the vaccines in addition to observing all the health protocols to help control the spread of the virus.
The CS donated masks, sanitizers and protective gears to the Naivasha prison for distribution among the more than 3,000 inmate population.
By Esther Mwangi and Erastus Gichohi