NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – Kenya has included people aged over 58 in the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine that was rolled out last month for frontline healthcare workers, security forces and teachers.
The roll-out was launched when the country received some 1.02 million dosses of the AstraZeneca acquired through the COVAX facility.
By Thursday, about 40,000 people had been vaccinated mainly frontline workers.
COVID Vaccine Taskforce Chairman Dr.Willis Akwale in a statement said prioritization of the elderly is also in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment.
He said the decision to include the vulnerable age group was due to the high number of deaths, which accounted up to 60 percent of total fatalities since the pandemic broke out in Kenya.
“This group of persons will now be a priority target group under the ongoing phase 1 vaccination exercise. These people are at most risk of severe diseases and account of 60 percent of our recorded deaths,” Akwale stated.
Kenya had recorded 2,066 fatalities by Thursday.
The Ministry of Health has urged religious leaders, political and Community leaders to be on the frontline in getting the jab so as to boost the confidence in the vaccination process among vaccination target groups.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health said it plans to scale up the COVID-19 vaccination for AstraZeneca and has called on more Kenyans to turn up. The inoculation is initially targeting healthcare workers.
The ministry’s Head of Immunization Programme Dr.Collins Tabu said vaccines have a short shelf life and therefore, require to be utilized on time.