Editorials

Ensure frontline workers get Covid jab as planned

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Healthcare staff prepares to administer a Covid-19 vaccine. FILE PHOTO | AFP

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Summary

  • According to the Cabinet brief released end of last week, Kenya races to vaccinate 1.25 million people in the first phase that will give priority to security personnel, teachers, vulnerable persons, healthcare workers, and those in the hospitality sector.
  • This list makes sense, but it should go beyond being a list to the actual vaccination towards stemming related deaths that are approaching 2,000 and more than 100,000 confirmed cases of infection.

This will be one of Kenya’s most important weeks in the recent history considering the Cabinet announcement last week that the country is receiving its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines in early March. This is big news since this disease has put the world on a wait-and-see mode for a year today, leaving a trail of destruction and disruption.

It is also important to note that Africa, which Kenya is part of, has been mentioned as the continent where the vaccines distribution may be put on the back burner. And, so, there has been a concerted debate and push to ensure that the continent is not left far behind in the inoculation drive.

According to the Cabinet brief released end of last week, Kenya races to vaccinate 1.25 million people in the first phase that will give priority to security personnel, teachers, vulnerable persons, healthcare workers, and those in the hospitality sector.

This list makes sense, but it should go beyond being a list to the actual vaccination towards stemming related deaths that are approaching 2,000 and more than 100,000 confirmed cases of infection.

Among other reasons, it is necessary to sound this warning after the Covid-19 contracts, including the supply of materials, made Kenya a laughing stock when a key government agency — the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority — bungled the procurement, leading to loss of loads and wads of cash estimated in billions of shillings.

Kenya cannot expect to make a leap in the fight against the pandemic that has seen more than a million Kenyans lose jobs by making the vaccination exercise a business-as-usual affair. It is not.

The country must ensure that those who should get the jab do so as programmed in efforts to return to near normalcy in schools, hospitals, and in key sectors like the hotels that hold sectors like tourism together.

It would be wrong and shameful to find the wrong people queuing for the special jab at the expense of the more deserving cases. We are asking the government to rid the exercise of corruption, the tumour that has continually eaten up Kenya’s heart and soul, leaving it in tatters.

Against the same light, we ask the government to ensure that the vials reach the country as promised and get stored with as little hitches as possible. We reiterate that Covid-19 vaccination ought to be treated as a matter of life and death. Anything else is unacceptable.