Low vaccine uptake in Mombasa after rules eased

So far county has recorded 5,000 people who have been vaccinated since Friday

In Summary
  • Mombasa county health officials have reported laxity in Covid-19 vaccine uptake since Friday when the health CS reviewed the measures.
  • Health officials providing community vaccination services have also received hostility from residents who believes that there is no Covid-19 disease after the announcement.

Mombasa health officials have raised concern over a drop in vaccination numbers.

Mombasa Public Health chief Officer Pauline Oginga during a press briefing in Mombasa
Mombasa Public Health chief Officer Pauline Oginga during a press briefing in Mombasa
Image: Laban Waloga

Mombasa health officials have raised concern over a drop in vaccination numbers.

This is after the Health Cabinet Secretary  Mutahi Kagwe reviewed the Covid-19 protocols on Friday.

Since then, Mombasa has recorded only 5,000 people who have been vaccinated and 200 going for their booster shots.

This is unlike previously when there were huge number of people going to be vaccinated.

The tally has also reduced in health facilities that offer the vaccination services.

According to health officials, in a day, at least 10 to 15 people visit the facilities to be vaccinated.

Public health communication officer Pauline Oginga said the officers offering community services have been receiving hostility when they try to tell the residents about vaccines.

“Since we started the vaccination services in Mombasa, we have vaccinated 450,000,"Oginga said.

"Since the Health CS revised the protocols people understood the information differently,” she said. 

“Our people who have been moving in the community to do vaccination have been receiving resistance,"she said.

"People have been asking them which country  they live in because they point out there was an announcement that corona is over in Kenya.”

Oginga said that churches which had done the vaccination bookings for their members on Sunday called to cancel the bookings after the announcement was made.

The health officials are now calling upon the residents of Mombasa to come out and get vaccinated.

“This is a tourist destination and therefore we are calling upon the residents to ensure that the disease does not spread again in our region," Oginga said.

"We have people with different diseases so if they come and get infected with corona their health will be at serious risk.”

Oginga also urged residents to listen to the health officers whenever they approach them.

“When our officers come to you do not chase them away, instead listen to them and if you are not ready for the vaccine, just tell them in a polite way,” she said.

Mombasa is among counties that returned expired vaccines to Nairobi.

Oginga said the county returned 40,000 doses of expired vaccines and that as a department, they are keen to ensure that they are not given to people.

“The government is taking all measures to ensure that whatever we are giving are potent vaccines," she said.

"If we see short term expiry vaccines, we normally hold the ones with long term expiry date. We finish the ones with short term before we use the other ones.” 

She said there is a possibility that people who took their first dose will not go for their second dose due to laxity.

According to them, coronavirus does not exist now that Covid-19 measures have been eased.

“We are appealing to Mombasa residents, do not drop all these measures. It is good to open the economy and we are really supporting that," Oginga said.

"We want the economy to grow but it cannot do that if we are going to get re-infections in Mombasa ,”she said.

“This is a killer disease and we do not want to reach a point where the positivity rate goes up again and we start  dealing with shut downs  especially during this time of campaigns,” she said.

Oginga said when Kagwe made the announcement  last Friday, the number of people going for Covid tests reduced.

Now, she said, those who are going for the tests are international travellers.

"This was a good announcement but it was interpreted wrongly. As a county, we had a meeting with other stakeholders and came up with mitigation measures," she said.

"We need to change strategy, go back to the ground and do sensitisation. We are also going to demand for the community to cooperate because we want people to be vaccinated.”

She said that going by the trend and given that the low vaccination rate, Mombasa is going to end up with a lot of problems.

“We foresee a surge in the event that people fail to observe the measures and the corona disease is not over, that is our fear, she said.

"We do not want to reach a point where we are looking for isolation beds because it is expensive and intensive.”

(Edited by Francis Wadegu)

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