West Pokot County Community leaders have been urged to partner with government departments to sensitise more residents on the value of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and booster jabs.
Speaking during a sensitization on Covid-19 vaccination and booster shot campaign stakeholder’s forum held in Kapenguria Town on Friday, health officers from the Ministry of Health mentioned that many people in the region were still not vaccinated despite the availability of the vaccine.
Samuel Lopar said only 42,263 people from the county had been vaccinated so far with a target of 230,000.
“Only 42,263 people have been vaccinated so far in West Pokot County, translating to 14.9 per cent. This is a very low turnout given that vaccines are still in stock,” stated Lopar.
He attributed the low uptake of the vaccine to the myriad myths and misinformation doing rounds on social media about the exercise.
“Many people have been fed with wrong information concerning probable side-effects or reactions to the vaccines such as infertility and blood clotting. All this is unfounded therefore we call on everyone to take the vaccine,” he urged, calling on community leaders to be at the forefront in mobilising community members to take up the jab as a preventive measure.
A report from the Ministry of Health indicated that the teenage population of 5.8 million is targeted for vaccination by the end of this year countrywide.
Noel Aker, a health official at Kapenguria County Teaching and Referral Hospital added that there are plans of visits to main school across the county aiming to vaccinate all children.
Aker requested parents to allow their children to be vaccinated, reiterating that the vaccines are safe and boost the immune system thus preventing severe illnesses.
He noted that the vaccines currently available are Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.
“As we plan to visit children in school, all those aged 12 years and above will be vaccinated and any other person willing will receive the jab. Expectant women will also not be left out,” said Aker.
The campaign is being funded by Global Health where Amref and the Ministry of Health are the implementing agencies with the awareness being made through council of elders, Maendeleo ya Wanawake and Faith-Based Organizations for a maximum reach so that many people get vaccinated during this phase.
The Ministry of Health recommends that at least 80 per cent of the whole population should be vaccinated because this can help reduce the risk of many people contracting the virus.
By Richard Muhambe and Anthony Melly