NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Acting Public Health Director General Patrick Amoth on Friday became the first Kenyan to receive the COVID-19 jab.
Amoth received the jab at the official launch of a nationwide vaccination campaign held at the Kenyatta National Hospital which officiated by Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache.
Following the official launch, Mochache said the vaccines will now be heading to the county referral facilities.
The PS also urged continued adherence to the COVID-19 containment measures, despite the arrival of the vaccines.
“We are proud to be among the first in the continent to start this important exercise,” she said.
After receiving the jab Amoth described it as a great feeling and urged his fellow health workers not to be hesitant about it.
“I can assure the safety of this vaccine as it has gone through a rigorous process, I encourage health workers to take this important step and get vaccinated,” said Dr. Amoth, “I feel great to be vaccinated. It is safe you can see I have taken it no one should fear.”
Amoth said some of the mild side effects of the jab include heaviness of the arm, headache. He was quick to point out that not all people getting vaccinated will experience the symptoms.
KNH Chief Executive Officer Dr. Evanson Kamuri was second to receive the vaccine. He was followed by other health workers at the nation’s largest referral hospital.
Also receiving the jab was Immunization and Vaccine Head Dr. Collins Tabu.
Dr Richard Ayah, who is in the Vaccines Taskforce explained, that an Intensive Care Unit health worker, a dentist, medical students and their lecturers were among the 10 pre-selected vaccinees.
He said the vaccination process will commence with the vaccine recipient completing a registration form where they will also be required to give consent to be inoculated.
They will then get the vaccine then rest for 30 minutes after which the vaccinated person is released with an acknowledgment form.
Kenya received 1.2 million vaccines on Tuesday shipped by UNICEF as part of the global COVAX alliance, which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines for all countries around the world.
The vaccines were availed free of charge as the Kenyan government did not incur any cost in procuring and transportation.
UNICEF vouched for the vaccine’s safety dismissing as propaganda claims that the jab could present health challenges.
“Vaccination is voluntary. Let me assure all Kenyans that I have absolute confidence in the vaccine’s safety and in its urgency, its importance and its necessity,” said Stephen Jackson the UNICEF representative in the region.
The jabs will be administered free of charge in public health facilities.