The Kenyan government has said it will prioritise those aged 58 years and above in the ongoing phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination drives.
Security Watch Africa reports that the initial plan was to reach frontline workers, among them healthcare workers, teachers and those in the armed forces with the jab as they have a higher risk of contracting the virus based on the nature of their job.
It was learnt that the Health Ministry said the decision to include the aged in the phase one was arrived at after data showed that people in this age bracket are at most risk of severe disease and account for 60 per cent of the deaths recorded in the country.
Chairman of the COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Taskforce, Willis Akhwale said: “ The country is currently experiencing a third wave that has seen an exponential rise in the number of hospitalizations and cases of critical care patients, a situation experts say is likely being fuelled by the new variants.
“ Already, hospitals are overstretched and ICU beds running out, with the government reactivating the home based care for the management of asymptomatic patients.
“ In view of this surge of the pandemic and in order to protect and save lives, the Ministry of Health has decided to immediately prioritize vaccinations of persons aged 58 years and above.
“ This group of persons will now be a priority target group under the ongoing phase 1 vaccination exercise.
“ This prioritisation is also aligned to the WHO and National Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment recommendations. ”
The Ministry had also urged political and religious leaders to come out and receive the jab in an effort to boost confidence in the overall vaccination process among the targeted groups.
This comes amid reports of low intakes of the vaccines with the government having managed to vaccinate just 64,100 people against the expected target of 1.25 million to be met by June.