SUPPLY THE DOSES

Stop vaccine apartheid, Kagwe tells countries with huge stock

CS criticises some nations for vaccinating children at the expense of others that have yet to give the jab to their adult population

In Summary
  • Kagwe criticised some countries for vaccinating children at the expense of others that are yet to vaccinate their adult population.
  • The CS said evidence and science provided has shown that there is no need to intensify children campaigns.
Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe with Kiambu Governor James Nyoro flag off vehicles that will take Covid-19 vaccine to Kiambu county residents at the grassroot level
Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe with Kiambu Governor James Nyoro flag off vehicles that will take Covid-19 vaccine to Kiambu county residents at the grassroot level

Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe has appealed to countries to stop the Covid-19 vaccine apartheid. 

Speaking on Wednesday in Kiambu town during the mass rollout of mobile Covid-19 vaccination to the grassroots, Kagwe said some countries are vaccinating children while others have not managed to vaccinate adults.

The CS said evidence and science provided has shown that there is no need to intensify children campaigns.

"There are no geographical boundaries when it comes to coronavirus transmission. A person who is not vaccinated in Kenya can transmit the virus to Uganda, the United Kingdom, the US and elsewhere," he said.

The CS also called on Johnson & Johnson—into which he said the Kenyan government has injected billions of shillings to secure some 13 million doses—to fast-track the delivery to enable the country to seamlessly continue with the ongoing vaccination.

The government has also appealed to India to meet its commitment to delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine as promised. Kagwe said diplomatic niceties and not keeping their word is useless.

"We are appealing to countries like India because billions of shillings were deposited under the Covax facility so that they can supply the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines across the globe."

The CS assured that no vaccines will expire, saying they have made proper plans and will ensure they are properly stored and used up before expiry.

"We have a cold chain to ensure vaccines do not expire. We are expecting to roll out the Pfizer vaccine next week as some of the syringes will arrive on Saturday. We have one million of the vaccines in the country and are expecting more," he said.

Kagwe called on the media to help in demystifying myths about the vaccines and dispel claims that the vaccine can make one impotent.

He said the media should use their platforms to sensitise Kenyans to the importance of being vaccinated.

The CS urged hotel and bar owners to ensure their employees are vaccinated to enable the economy to open up.

Kagwe appealed to the private hospitals to self-regulate and stop overcharging patients and retaining bodies over hospitals bills but instead help the government in achieving affordable healthcare.

He also called on Kenyans to take up NHIF cover.

"Hospitals should not seek to make profits from other's suffering and especially not on the dead. The families are already traumatised and you tell them that they cannot take the body of their loved one because they owe the hospital over Sh3 million. It is unreasonable, retrogressive unpalatable and in bad faith," Kagwe said. 

Governor James Nyoro said Kiambu county has vaccinated 256,000 people. The number accounts for 18 per cent of the county population. 

"The low vaccination percentage is not good enough for our county, especially bearing in mind that we have already witnessed families being wiped out by the virus, like a case in Gikambura. This is why we requested the mass vaccination campaign to be rolled out in Kiambu," Nyoro said.

He said there is apathy, particularly among the younger people, adding that the county has started a sensitisation campaign for residents to the dangers of a fifth wave.

"We will be going to churches, markets where boda boda people are and the slum areas as we target vaccinating 5,000 people per day because as we stand, we are doing almost half of that. We will come to you," he said.

Nyoro urged residents to learn how to live with Covid-19 by observing the Ministry of Health guidelines and going for the jab.

-Edited by SKanyara

Cabinet secretary Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Governor James Nyoro and deputy governor Joyce Ngugi during the mass roll out campaign in Kiamu county on September 29, 2021
vaccination Cabinet secretary Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Governor James Nyoro and deputy governor Joyce Ngugi during the mass roll out campaign in Kiamu county on September 29, 2021
Image: STANLEY NJENGA
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and Governor James Nyoro during the mass roll out in Kiambu
Vaccinated Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and Governor James Nyoro during the mass roll out in Kiambu
Image: STANLEY NJENGA
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe hands over personal protective gear to Kiambu Governor James Nyoro for county health workers on September 29, 2021
Protection Health CS Mutahi Kagwe hands over personal protective gear to Kiambu Governor James Nyoro for county health workers on September 29, 2021
Image: STANLEY NJENGA