Kenya has received 765,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX facility. This brings the total number of vaccines available in the country close to 10 million doses.
Speaking while receiving the vaccines on Tuesday 9th November 2021, Dr. Willis Akhwale noted that, “With this delivery, the country now has sufficient doses to meet the target set by His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta to administer 10 million vaccines by the end of December 2021. Therefore, there is no reason as to why we cannot meet this target,” he said.
So far, close to 6 million people have been vaccinated. 82% of health workers and 54% of teachers have been fully vaccinated.
Dr. Akhwale expressed concern about the number of persons above 58 years who are not vaccinated . “Currently only 16% are vaccinated yet more than three-quarters of COVID-19 related deaths occur in persons above 50 years.”
He lauded efforts by county governments to mobilize people to get vaccinated.
“In the last two weeks Taita Taveta County has been making remarkable progress towards vaccination of its population. We appreciate the efforts by the County leadership in mobilizing its population to get vaccinated.”
Currently, Taita Taveta County is ranked 4th among Counties with the most vaccinated populations after Nairobi, Nyeri and Kiambu.
In a move to accelerate the country’s vaccination programme, Health Cabinet Secretary Sen Mutahi last week directed vaccination be opened up to all persons above the age of 18 years.
“With the number of vaccines available in the country, there is no reason why anybody above 18 years of age should not get vaccinated. This is a very important individual responsibility to ensure that you get vaccinated,” explained Dr. Akhwale.
Vaccines have been distributed to almost 2000 facilities across the country for ease of access. Dr. Akhwale also warned that it is not time to disregard vaccination even though the country is experiencing a period of reduced cases of COVID-19 severe admissions.
“It is a good thing in our fight to have low COVID-19 infections, however this disease occurs in waves and the potential of the next wave becoming more severe still stands. The only weapon we have to reduce the number of cases in the next wave is to get people vaccinated and strict observance of COVID-19 safety measures like social distancing, wearing masks in public places and washing hands,” he warned.
He also urged Kenyans to disregard any rumors, any misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and to present themselves for vaccination.