800,000 students to get Covid jab before beginning higher learning

Susan Mochache

The Ministry of Health PS Susan Mochache (left) gets a Covid-19 booster at Kibera Level 3 Hospital on Thursday. Ms Mochache said the ministry has heightened surveillance to prevent a monkeypox outbreak.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

The Ministry of Health will start vaccinating more than 800,000 students who sat the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination before they join universities and colleges next month.

Principal secretary Susan Mochache asked the students to take the Covid-19 jab as they wait to know which university they will be placed in this month. This is meant to avert the spread of the virus in the learning institutions.

“We are keen to reach the more than 800,000 young people who completed their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Examination in April 2022 and have now joined the community as they wait to get admitted to various institutions of higher learning.

“As most of them will start joining various colleges from July 2022, we appeal to all their parents and guardians to encourage the young adults to be vaccinated before they join their next level of education,” she said.

She said only 8.4 million adult Kenyans have been fully vaccinated, translating into 31 per cent of the adult population.

The Health ministry targets to vaccinate the entire adult population and 50 per cent of the teenage population aged between 15-17 by the year-end. This means the vaccination will start targeting secondary school students as the majority of them are in the 15-17 age group.

Health guidelines

Although a few college and university students have voluntarily been vaccinated, the ministry has not had campaigns targeting the group.

The latest drive targeting the students is not compulsory but will follow health guidelines.

Ms Mochache said targeted vaccination will reduce cases. “In less than a month, we have seen the positivity rate rise from an average of 0.6 per cent per day to today’s 3.6 per cent, with a weekly average of 3.3 per cent.”

The PS said the sharp rise in numbers should worry the country and urgent steps must be taken to prevent a slide into the crisis that was experienced in 2020 and 2021. Ms Mochache said over 26 million Kenyans are unvaccinated, despite the availability of a large stock of vaccines.

The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service closed its portal on Friday and is expected to announce the students’ placement by mid this month. The service opened the system on May 20 for revision of courses.

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