Covid vaccine drive targets 19 million adults by June

Covid-19 vaccination

Austin Joshua receives the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at Metropolitan Hospital, Nairobi. 

Photo credit: Pool

Kenya plans to administer at least 20 million vaccine doses in the next six months to achieve the mid-year target set by the Ministry of Health.

Between January and the end of June, the country plans to fully vaccinate 19 million adults (70 per cent of the adult population) and the entire adult population of 27 million people by the end of the year.

During the same period, it aims to fully vaccinate 2.9 million teenagers aged 15-17 (50 per cent of the population) and the entire teenage population of 5.8 million by year’s end. Vaccination of teenagers with Pfizer started in November 2021.

By the end of 2021, Kenya had administered 10.1 million doses of vaccines, with 4.2 million people fully vaccinated and 5.9 million partially vaccinated. In the first week of this month, following global reports of waning immunity from Covid-19 vaccines, the country started the administration of third doses.

Booster shots

By mid this year, the country aims at ensuring that all the 4.2 million persons eligible for booster shots get them.

In the strategy shared with Sunday Nation, National Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment chief Willys Akhawale said the plan is doable as the country has over 7.2 million doses of different vaccines at the central vaccine store.

County-specific targets have also been set to be met by mid-year.

“We have laid plans to administer at least 20 million vaccine doses between January and June 2022 to achieve the mid-year targets and has set specific targets for the 47 counties with an objective of ensuring the administration of vaccine doses according to their population proportions,” he said.

“There is no reason why we should not meet our target if the vaccines are available. We want to see the number of people vaccinated increase in case of any eventuality and new variants, we are protected. That’s why are we are fighting to have more vaccines brought into the country.”

As of January 13, the country had 4.7 million Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses with a shelf life of two years in the stores, 1.5 million AstraZeneca, 796,770 doses of Pfizer vaccine (nine-month shelf life), 170,000 of Sinopharm, with only Moderna vaccine out of stock.

So far, the country has received over 23 million doses, with the largest butch of 12 million from Covax bilateral donations, 7.9 million from direct bilateral donations, 1.7 million from Covax donations with 897,600 from government procurement.

On average, the country is administering about 100,000 doses a day, with the ministry planning to increase this to over 200,000 through mobilisation campaigns.

Since the beginning of vaccination in March 2021, December last year had the highest uptake of vaccines because of the restriction on social places for unvaccinated persons.

The week of December 13-19 led with over 800,000 doses administered, followed by the week of December 20-26 with 650 doses administered, but the numbers have since gone down. Last week, only 280,000 doses were given to Kenyans.

“We want to see an increase in the number of people getting vaccinated. Looking at the figures from hospitals, close to 90 per cent of those hospitalised are not vaccinated. We do not want you to go to a hospital yet you have the vaccine even in the lower level facilities in rural areas,” Dr Akhawale said.

He gave an example of Kakamega County that has done so well and increased the number of those fully vaccinated, given that the region is densely populated.

From the Ministry of Health data, Kakamega has moved from position 23 in December to position five with about 229,000 (23 per cent) fully vaccinated against its population of a million. It is the only county in the Nyanza and Western regions to hit the 20 per cent fully vaccinated mark.

“For Kakamega, I liked the fact that all the worship places were opened from Monday to Sunday as vaccination centres and that elderly people trusted the worship areas more than facilities, hence the county vaccinated more of the population,” Dr Akhawale said.

Ten counties with at least 20 per cent of their population fully vaccinated are Nairobi 36 per cent, Nyeri 34 per cent, Laikipia 28 per cent, Kiambu 24 per cent, Kakamega 23 per cent, Taita Taveta 21 per cent and Uasin Gishu, Murang’a and Nyandarua recording a 20 per cent each.


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