NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Tuesday launched the coronavirus vaccination exercise across the county in a ceremony held at the Mutuini Hospital in Dagoretti.
NMS Director General Mohamed Badi noted Nairobi had recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the onset of the pandemic, thus priority will be given to healthcare workers and those living with underlying health conditions.
“Nairobi accounts for 44 per cent of all the cases recorded and has registered 681 deaths so far and therefore we are planning to move with speed to ensure that all the healthcare workers are vaccinated and in phase two we move to the vulnerable and those living with underlying conditions,” Badi said.
“We want to ensure that everyone is vaccinated in the long run because as we all know anybody can contract it and the effects are bad.”
Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna called on healthcare workers who are reluctant to be vaccinated to turn out in large numbers assuring that the jab is safe and it will protect them as they continue fighting the virus.
“There are many myths and misinformations going around concerning the vaccine that even our frontline workers are becoming reluctant to getting the jab. This vaccine is okay and in the next phase I would be glad to come forward and be vaccinated so as to give confidence to those who may have been infected but are reluctant to be vaccinated,” Oguna said.
Kenya received 1.2 million vaccines Tuesday, March 2, shipped in by UNICEF as part of the global COVAX alliance, which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines for all countries around the world.
Kenya hopes to vaccinate about 16 million people by end of the year to suppress the virus.
In phase two of the vaccination, which is set to kick off in July, 9.7 million Kenyans will be vaccinated.
A Vaccine Taskforce chaired by Dr Willis Akwale called on all the centers that have been entrusted with the distribution of the vaccines in counties to ensure the quality is not compromised saying action will be taken against those who will not adhere to the storage requirements.
Other counties which launched the vaccination exercise include Kisumu and Kisii.
Kisii is targeting 2,500 health care workers in the first phase.
Kisumu County is targeting to vaccinate 140 people daily while giving priority to 4,000 healthcare workers.
County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr Boaz Nyunya on Tuesday said the county had so far received 15,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said 16 counties had begun administering the vaccine after it was launched in Nairobi last week on Friday
She noted those who got vaccinated were doing well and called on everyone to take the vaccine positively.
On Tuesday, the COVID-19 virus claimed 7 lives, raising the cumulative fatalities to 1,886.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said 113 patients recovered from the disease including 65 under home-based care.
Total recoveries stood at 87,736 as 479 new COVID-19 cases were recorded, out of 4,043 samples tested.