The Ministry of Health has bolstered plans to increase the number of COVID-19 vaccinations following the launch of an accelerated national vaccination campaign in Murang’a County.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi Friday, officiated the start of the exercise which included; the roll out of a 10-day mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign targeting to have 2.3 million people vaccinated in at least half of the forty- seven Counties.
The campaign dubbed “Kenya Tukae Chonjo” targets to have anyone above 15 years vaccinated, with emphasis on high risk populations such as frontline workers, immune-compromised individuals and the elderly. Individuals due for the second dose of a two-dose vaccine are also targeted to complete the dose for full vaccination, while those eligible for the booster dose will be vaccinated to enhance immunity.
Addressing the gathering, CAS Mwangangi underscored the role of community health volunteers in promoting primary health care, rallying them to mobilize communities to focus on their health and well- being.
“We will not wait for people to come to the hospitals. We want to be able to go to the people and it is the Community Health Volunteers who will be able to do this.” Stated Mwangangi.
“The Community Health Volunteers will be the center of our primary health care strategy. It will be the corner stone of ensuring health gets to the people. Just remember your health is your responsibility.” Emphasized Mwangangi.
At least 2000 vaccination teams with each team comprising of a vaccinator, data clerk, community health volunteer and community mobilizer will be deployed to step up outreach services. During the accelerated campaign, vaccination will be conducted in fixed mobile outreach vaccination sites set up in market centers, places of worship, office blocks, recreational centers, in addition to continued vaccination at existing health facilities.
UNICEF Deputy Representative of programs Jean Lokenga, commended the Ministry of Health for engaging the community in the vaccination agenda, maintaining vaccination is key to saving lives.
“The main objective of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign is to build population immunity against COVID-19 infection. This has become more urgent following the recent waves of COVID-19 cases in Kenya driven by the more transmissible omicron variant. Observed Lokenga.
“More than 3 million doses have been distributed across the counties in readiness for this campaign. For those not fully vaccinated, COVID-19 remains a serious threat to health, lives and economies. Vaccination is the best way to protect against death. He reiterated.
The 10-day vaccination campaign supported by UNICEF, Africa CDC among other partners, will run from the 22nd to 31st of July 2022 in 24 Counties. These include; Baringo, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Embu, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kericho, Kisii, Kitui, Lamu, Makueni, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Muranga, Nandi, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Samburu, Tharaka Nithi, TransNzoia, Turkana, and Uasin Gishu.
In the last few months the country has experienced a decline in the number of COVID-19 vaccinations mainly attributed to a low risk perception of infection, myths and misconceptions.
Currently, the vaccination rate stands at 32% with only five months left to the end of the year. Kenya targets to fully vaccinate at least 70% of its entire adult population by end of December. Vaccines approved for use include; Astrazeneca, Pfizer, Sinopharm, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.
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