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Economy

90pc endorse vaccines amid woes

vaccine
Preparing for a jab: 89 percent of Kenyans trust vaccines. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nearly nine in every 10 Kenyans believe that immunisation vaccines are safe and effective, a new global survey shows, even as global confidence in the drugs drop.

The survey on attitudes conducted by Wellcome Global Monitor and published Wednesday suggests that while confidence is low in Europe and America, it is generally highest in Eastern Africa.

Wellcome Global Monitor, which studies how people think about science and health challenges, surveyed more than 140,000 respondents from more than 140 countries.

In Kenya, 89 percent of the respondents said the vaccines were both safe and effective while in Tanzania and Ethiopia 96 percent endorse it.

These rates are above the global average of 79 percent with confidence levels plummeting to as low as 50 percent in Ukraine and 36 percent in Belarus on the back of social media disinformation and negative campaigns by some religious groupings.

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The trust in vaccines is probably the reason Kenya and the rest of East Africa have not experienced outbreak of diseases such as measles which have re-emerged in the US, Europe, Asia, the Pacific and parts of Africa.

Head of Malaria Control Programme Dr Waqo Ejersa said a concept known as herd immunity occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.

“When the malaria vaccines just like other vaccines are given to more than 80 percent of the population then it provides protection to the community, including those who are not immunised,” he said.

The global survey findings also proves that religious authorities who have opposed the jabs are yet to have their way in the country.

In Kenya, the Catholic Church claimed that the tetanus vaccine that was administered to Kenyan women in 2014 could cause permanent infertility.

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