POST COVID RECOVERY

Medics, Amnesty International want Sh35 billion in budget for mass vaccination

This is not the time to invest in large roads.

In Summary

•Say the proposed budget has not specified any significant allocation for the purchase of the Covid vaccines despite an increment in the routine immunisation budget.

•They want an additional allocation of funds to subsidize the cost of Covid testing and treatment.

KMPDU SG Davji Atellah speaks during the press briefing at KMPDU offices located along Ngong Road on June 9, 2021
KMPDU SG Davji Atellah speaks during the press briefing at KMPDU offices located along Ngong Road on June 9, 2021
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Doctors have called on the government to allocate one per cent of its budget to go towards purchase of Covid-19 vaccines for the entire adult population in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Kenya  Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union flanged by Amnesty International further want an additional allocation of funds to subsidize the cost of Covid testing and treatment.

They said this will help reduce the current burden on thousands of Kenyans.

In addition, they want adequate allocation to go towards the purchase of occupation safety equipment, training, psychosocial support, research and training of healthcare workers in Kenya as a way of rebuilding the public healthcare system and make it accessible to more than 90 per cent of poor Kenyans.

“We believe that voluntary mass vaccination is core to Covid-19 national and global recovery. That the national 2021/2022 budget is silent on Covid-19 vaccination is a shocking omission,” KMPDU SG Davji Atellah said.

Amnesty International Executive Director Houghton Irungu reads the statement at KMPDU offices located along Ngong Road on June 9, 2021
Amnesty International Executive Director Houghton Irungu reads the statement at KMPDU offices located along Ngong Road on June 9, 2021
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Atellah noted that while there is a mention of Covid-19 vaccines in the narrative section, the proposed budget has not specified any significant allocation for the purchase of the Covid vaccines despite an increment in the routine immunisation budget.

“The estimated total cost of vaccinating the entire adult population in Kenya is Sh35 billion or one per cent of the projected national budget for the FY 2021/2022,” Atellah noted.

They noted that it if the protection of people’s lives and livelihoods and reopening of all economic sectors to allow people to rebuild their lives post Covid is dependent on reaching herd immunity, then a universal vaccination roll out is essential.

“We are hoping that this will be a stimulus recovery budget not an infrastructural budget, this is not the time to invest in large roads, in dams, this is the time to protect people from the virus it is the time to rebuilt people’s livelihoods, and to focus on people who are most vulnerable,” Amnesty International Executive Director Houghton Irungu said.