Kenya on Friday began vaccinating healthcare workers against the coronavirus two days after the first consignment of one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in the country.
Neighbouring Rwanda also began its immunization program on Friday.
The two countries are using vaccines received this week under the global vaccine sharing COVAX facility, an initiative aimed at ensuring vaccine access to poor countries.
A shot in the arm in Kenya’s fight against COVID-19, close to a year since the East African nation reported its first case of the deadly viral disease.
The country’s acting Director for Health Dr. Patrick Amoth was the first to receive the jab.
He says, “A momentous occasion for the country, now that we have the COVID-19 vaccine and assure our healthcare workers…”
In total, Kenya targets to immunize 400 000 of its healthcare workers. Others to be vaccinated during the first phase of the vaccination program which will end in June this year include security officers and teachers.
The first recipients of the vaccine expressed confidence that they had taken the right decision.
Nurse Lydia Muthiani says, “I am very happy, happy because I was once a victim, I once got COVID-19.”
Head of Nursing Services at Kenyatta National Hospital Fredrick Mulinge says, ” This makes us get ready to face …COVID-19 patients.”
The Doctor’s union’s Dr Kaguiria Thuranira says, “It’s a good feeling after all the fights we have had on the streets saying that…have been finally been prioritised.”
Kenya is betting on the vaccines to boost its fight against COVID-19 which has been blamed for a slowdown in the country’s economic growth.
Amref Health Africa’s CEO Dr Githinji Gitahii says, “This moment is only a start to the journey and the end of it.”
More than 3 000 healthcare workers in Kenya have been infected while 32 have lost their lives to the disease in the line of duty.
The video below is on Kenya beginning to vaccinate healthcare workers: