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Red Cross unveils a Covid-19 vaccination campaign project

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has launched an 18 month Covid-19 vaccination campaign targeting vulnerable people in Tana River County.  

The European Union (EU) funded project dubbed the ECHO vaccination project is being implemented in nine counties and 23 sub-counties.

Tana River and Lamu counties were selected from the Coast region, other counties are: Baringo, Isiolo, Kitui, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana and Wajir. 

The counties were selected as a result of low Covid-19 vaccine uptake, a weak health system with understaffing and are inhabited by pastoral communities.

Speaking in Hola during an inception meeting with stakeholders, Gregory Okal, KRCS Programme Officer, said the majority of the targeted counties are vast and are along the borders.   

“The project aims to prepare, facilitate and conduct in-county vaccinations in a bid to reduce transmission of COVID-19 thus contributing to saving lives in Tana River. We are also targeting population living in hard to reach areas,” said Okal.

He further revealed that community trust is key to ensuring the success of any immunization initiative and that is why they will involve chiefs, religious leaders and village elders in the project.

Speaking at the stakeholder’s forum, Tana River Director of Health Services, Oscar Endekwa, revealed that 3,851 have received the first dose, while only 1,367 people have returned for the second dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

So far 2,383 people are fully immunized. 1,014 were administered with the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine, a total of 4,865 people have been vaccinated.

Endekwa said the handling of the vaccines depends on the environment and because of the climatic condition J &J is preferred in Tana River due to vaccine stress.

The project will assist Tana River to upscale its Covid-19 vaccinations from the current 1.6 per cent according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Initially, vaccinations were being administered at the Hola referral, Ngao and Bura hospitals but 22 health facilities have got the green light to administer Covid-19 vaccines.

“We are aiming to increase the current achievement by 20 per cent from 4,865 to 5,838 by 5th December,’’ Endekwa said.

By Sadik Hassan

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