The Ministry of Health hosted a virtual media roundtable on Wednesday, as it seeks to create awareness on the multiple COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan as well as accelerate ongoing vaccination drive.
Addressing the forum, National Taskforce on Vaccine Deployment Chair Dr. Willis Akhwale said the government is keen on ensuring full vaccination of the country’s adult population against COVID-19. Dr. Akhwale expressed concern, on the current misconception that persons with chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension and cancer should not be vaccinated.
“The message the media really needs to take out there, is that people with chronic conditions need the vaccine. Chronic disease is not a contraindication for vaccination, it is a priority if you have any of these conditions” observed Akhwale.
The meeting also focused on the importance of pre-registration through the ministry’s self-service portal, to aid in collating data on vaccination as well as reducing crowding in health facilities.
“It is better for people to pre-register so that we reduce the crowds we see in health facilities. We have developed a system which is secure and open to the public,” said Dr. Joseph Sitienei, the head of health sector monitoring and informatics at the Ministry of Health.
Sitienei said data from the pre-registration system will also be used to track those who fail to show up for their second dose, and rally them to get the second dose for full vaccination.
On the question of vaccine safety, Dr. Lucy Mecca the vaccine quality and supply manager at the national vaccines immunization program, said studies have shown that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines outweigh any risks of side effects that have been reported.
Other issues that were addressed during the meeting touched on mix and match of vaccines, cold chain and supply chain considerations, breakthrough cases reported, vaccine efficacy among others.
The media round table brought together editors and senior reporters from various media houses.