Kenyan firms and government agencies addressing vaccine hesitancy

Covid-19 Vaccine
Covid-19 Vaccine

After months of waiting for COVID-19 vaccination, Sammy Mutua was vaccinated on Aug. 6 after his employer organized for the exercise.

“It was done at the workplace and everyone was supposed to take the jab. Health officials came to the office and vaccinated everyone in two days,” he said.

According to Mutua, their bosses at their insurance firm ensured everyone is vaccinated save for those who are pregnant.

“Every employee’s name was listed and ticked against as they got the jab. Some of us brought our dependents,” he told Xinhua Wednesday.

The approach is being employed by various private firms and government agencies in the east African nation as organizations fight vaccine hesitancy.

Banks, insurance firms, learning institutions, media houses, factories, hospitals and retailers are among private organizations that are employing the tactic, as well as government agencies.

With the strategy, organizations are hoping to bring their employees back to the office and resume their operations fully.

“Many firms are now very strict if they organize the vaccination, it is either one takes the jab or they don’t step in the office,” said Jane Njuguna, who works for a media house.

At her workplace, a deadline has been set for all workers to take the vaccine and those who would not be vaccinated by then have been asked to work from home.

“It is a polite way of ensuring everyone is vaccinated without declaring that it is compulsory,” she said.

Similarly, the government is keen on ensuring all its workers get vaccinated to enhance smooth running of its affairs.

On Tuesday, the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua announced that all government workers must be vaccinated and those who will not adhere to the directive will face disciplinary action.

Kinyua observed that there was low uptake of the jabs among government workers as some deliberately avoided them.

“All civil servants will thus be prioritized in the ongoing vaccination and that those who will not have been given the first jab by Aug. 23 would be treated as discipline cases and appropriate action taken against them,” he said in a circular dated Aug. 6.

According to health experts, unvaccinated people put others at risk, particularly those whose bodies slowly respond to the vaccine.

Vaccine hesitancy has been blamed for lacklustre uptake of the jabs among teachers, security officers and health workers despite the groups having been listed among priority groups.

Patrick Amoth, the director-general in the Ministry of Health, noted that vaccine hesitancy is partly to blame for rising cases in the east African nation.
If most citizens get vaccinated, cases of people who are severely ill will reduce, he said.

Kenya has ramped up vaccination of all its citizens after receiving thousands of vaccines in the past few weeks. The country is currently vaccinating all adults but vaccine hesitancy has been blamed for slow uptake of the jabs.

As of Tuesday, Kenya had vaccinated 1.8 million people, with 710,711 of them fully vaccinated. Enditem

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