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State launches covid-19 vaccination campaign

The government in partnership with a section of international organizations has launched an accelerated covid-19 vaccination campaign targeting to immunize all adults in the country by end of the year.

The exercise which will involve fixed mobile outreach centres targets to vaccinate close to 30 million adults and more than 5 million teenagers.

On Friday, the campaign was launched in Murang’a by officials from the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, Africa CDC, AMREF and Red Cross among others.

Gracing the Occasion at Ihura Stadium, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Mercy Mwangangi called all those who are yet to be vaccinated to come out and get the jab saying the country is not yet out of danger of coronavirus.

Mwangangi said the government together with its partners will make the doses easily available to every Kenyan including those at the grassroots.

Currently, she observed only more than 8 million adults and 0.3 million teenagers are fully vaccinated, observing there is more to be done to ensure all adults and teenagers are vaccinated by the end of this year.

The accelerated vaccination campaign will in the first phase cover 24 counties where 2, 290 vaccination teams will be deployed.

UNICEF Deputy Representative in the country Jean Lokenga, observed that fixed mobile outreach vaccination sites will be placed at market centres, worship areas, offices and other places where people congregate.

Lokenga said the campaign was funded to the tune of Sh413.5 million targets to build population immunity against infections taking into consideration the dangers posed by the virus on health and economic sectors.

He said Unicef is working with the government to ensure those within the age brackets needed to be vaccinated get the jabs.

Lokenga added that more than 19, 000 health workers, 7, 800 data clerks and 7, 800 community health workers have been trained to take part in the campaign. “Community leaders and the clergy have also been engaged to ensure the campaign is successful,” he further said.

UNICEF, Lokenga said, has also facilitated procurement of specialized vaccines and cold chain equipment in over 3,500 health facilities over the last four years with the support of the World Bank and the Government of Japan.

The Ministry of Health Head of Vaccines and Immunization programme, Lucy Mecca, observed that more than 27. 8 million doses of various vaccines have been procured.

Part of the doses, she added, have been deployed to counties to actualize the exercise plans to distribute, other doses are underway.

Deputy Director of Africa Dr Mosoka Fallah, on his part observed that the accelerated covid-19 vaccination is being piloted in Kenya before being rolled out in the rest of the African countries.

He noted that his organization is committed to ensure 70 percent of the 1.2 billion Africans are vaccinated by December this year as only 17 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Africa CDC, he observed that in partnership with MasterCard Foundation has already provided 65 million doses of Moderna and Johnson vaccines in the continent.

Under the programme, countries will be supported in distributing the vaccines and manufacturing their own to stop their over-reliance on imports.

By Bernard Munyao

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