State adds Kenyans aged over 58 in Covid jab priority list

Covid-19 vaccination

A government officer gets Covid-19 vaccination in Nakuru. The Ministry of Health has added people aged 58 and above in Phase 1 of the ongoing Covid-19 priority vaccination groups.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

People aged 58 and above are now eligible to get Covid-19 vaccination from any of the accredited health facilities across the country, the Ministry of Health has said.

Further, the government has offered the vaccine to all political, religious and community leaders as a way of boosting confidence in the overall vaccination process, which has so far seen approximately 64,000 people inoculated against the Covid-19 virus.

In a statement released on Thursday, the chairman of the Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Taskforce Willis Akhwale said the move is meant to protect the group from the ongoing third wave of the pandemic which has seen cases of infections, hospitalisations and deaths increase in the last couple of weeks.

First phase

Dr Akhwale said that this age group has now been added to the priority groups of people who are expected to receive the jab in the first phase of the ongoing vaccination.

The sluggish uptake of the vaccine so far — which has a short expiry date of June — amongst the frontline cadre it was preserved for, has seen the deployment task force opt to move to the next group of people targeted for vaccination — those above 58 years of age who were initially categorised as Phase 2 priority group.

“According to our data, these are at most risk of severe disease and account for 60 per cent of our recorded deaths,” Dr Akhwale said in the statement.

This group will now be a priority target cluster under the ongoing Phase 1 vaccination which has been targeting 1.25 million frontline health workers, people working in essential services like teachers and staff in educational institutions, police, military, prisons staff, immigration officers as well as instructors in religious institutions.

“This prioritisation is also aligned to the WHO and national taskforce on vaccine deployment recommendations,” Dr Akhwale noted.

According to the national Covid-19 vaccines deployment and vaccination plan, the country was to initiate Phase 1 of inoculation between February and June 2021, targeting 1.25 million people, key among them frontline health workers and other cadres in priority sectors.

This means that the country ought to be vaccinating about 300,000 people in this priority group monthly if it is to meet its target.

“To date we have vaccinated 64,100 persons and the last two days we have had an average of 10,000 vaccinations administered. Over the next two weeks, we aim to be vaccinating over 20,000 people per day,” MoH said in a Tweet Wednesday evening.