The Ministry of Health, Inter Religious Council of Kenya and UNICEF have launched a joint Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed to upscale efforts towards vaccinating at least 10 million people by the end of this month.
Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mutahi Kagwe, said that religious leaders and local faith actors are universally recognized as influential people in our society since they nurture spiritual, emotional and social wellbeing of the people.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Rashid Aman, during the launch of the Inter Religious Council of Kenya Covid-19 vaccination awareness campaign at Ufungamano House, Kagwe said that there are challenges faced by faith leaders, especially at this time of the pandemic, which include restrictions on congregating and closure of places of worship to curtail the spread of the disease.
“There are enough vaccines for everyone. Yesterday alone, we received some 4.2 million Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccines and another 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from our friendly countries. We expect another three million Johnson and Johnson vaccines procured by the government in the coming days,” said Kagwe.
The CS said that to date Kenya has received a total of 20,892,970 Covid-19 vaccines while 7.6 million doses administered. Out of this 4.6 million people have received their first dose while three million are fully vaccinated, adding that about 13 million vaccines are not yet administered and this is why he says the campaign is very critical.
“If we want to see our places of worship opened up fully to our people, our businesses returned to normal and most of all our people stay healthy, we must ensure that everyone is safe. Getting as many people vaccinated as possible, is the major step we shall be taking towards that direction,” said Kagwe.
Kagwe said that recently, President Uhuru Kenyatta, on advice from the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus, lifted the curfew that had been in place since the pandemic struck and also increased the number of people to attend services in places of worship. He also directed religious ceremonies to be conducted in strict adherence to Covid-19 preventive guidelines, in a bid to enhance social, spiritual and economic recovery.
“As a Government, we shall continue to encourage you to comply with the Ministry of Health protocols in your places of worship, as well as the activities that you undertake for your faithful. On this I am happy to note that majority, if not all places of worship have done very well on this. However, you must not relent,” said the CS.
“As Religious Leaders, you are here to encourage the congregants and members of the public to embrace the Covid-19 vaccination in order to support the government’s effort of upscaling the exercise. I am happy with the theme you have chosen, “Imani na Chanjo ya Covid-19”. This is aligned to the national rallying theme of ‘Pata Chanjo, Kaa Chonjo,’ said Kagwe.
The CS said that his Ministry together with the Council of Governors, religious council and other affiliated associations will partner in order to reach all parts of the Country.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a