No Covid jab for you until all old people are vaccinated, ministry tells young Kenyans

Only 9.1 per cent of old people are fully vaccinated, yet they are most at risk

In Summary

•Among the current priority groups, elderly people above 58 years have the lowest full vaccination coverage of 9.1 per cent, Dr Akhwale said in a roundtable with journalists.

•Most of the dead people in this age group are men, representing 36 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths, while women constitute 18 per cent of all deaths.

Only 9.1 per cent of old people have been fully vaccinated.
NO INTEREST? Only 9.1 per cent of old people have been fully vaccinated.
Image: File

Covid-19 vaccination will not be opened up to the general public until all Kenyans above 58 years have been fully vaccinated, the Ministry of Health has said.

Current figures shows 54 per cent of all people dying of Covid-19 are above 60 years yet vaccination in this age group is extremely low.

“These are the people dying , and we have not reached most of them. We must ensure we must first fully vaccinate these people before we open up to everybody else,” head of vaccine rollout taskforce Dr Willis Akhwale said.

Among the current priority groups, people above 58 years have the lowest full vaccination coverage of 9.1 per cent, Dr Akhwale said in a roundtable with journalists.

This represents only 237,050 people from the targeted population of 2.6 million people.

Most of the dead people in this age group are men, representing 36 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths, while women constitute 18 per cent of all deaths.

“The reason is that males are more likely to go to areas where transmission is likely to occur. They are going to be in places where they share oxygen. They lock themselves up in bars to beat curfew,” Dr Akhwale speculated.

Several studies around the world already confirmed that while women are infected with the virus as frequently as men, men are more likely to contract severe forms of Covid-19 and die from the infection.

One factor is the greater prevalence of particular pre-existing conditions in men. For example, men suffer much more often from cardiovascular diseases, from which they also die more often than women.

Of the priority groups in Kenya, 66 per cent of health workers have been vaccinated, and 36.3 per cent of teachers.

In total, 24.1 per cent of people in all priority groups have been vaccinated.

Kenya is hoping to fully vaccinate 10 million adults by December, and a total of 26 million by the end of next year.

However, since the exercise began in March, only 786,340 people have been fully vaccinated with two doses.

The government says to achieve these targets, it will adopt  Johnson& Johnson as the primary vaccine in Kenya.

The government has also expanded vaccine storage capacity, and targets to vaccinate at least 150,000 people daily before the end of September.

Data from the ministry shows that last week, the country attained a daily vaccination rate of 40,000 people with the figure hitting a record high of 70,000 vaccinations per day on Friday.

“The first phase of our vaccination programme that ended in June 2021 was hampered by global supply constraints beyond our control. Despite that, Kenya is making good and steady progress towards achieving its goal of protecting its citizens against this pandemic,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said on Monday.