Kenya Integrates COVID-19 Vaccine into National Immunization Program

Eldoret, Kenya - The Kenyan government, through the Ministry of Health, has initiated the integration of the COVID-19 vaccine into its routine immunization program. This move is part of the National Vaccines and Immunization Program (NVIP), aimed at ensuring the provision of safe and quality vaccines to all eligible populations.

During a Health Stakeholders sensitization meeting in Eldoret, Uasin County Director of Health Clinical Services, Dr. Wenseslaus Kuria, emphasized the importance of combating societal misinformation that has led to hesitancy in COVID-19 vaccine uptake. He stressed the ongoing presence of COVID-19 and urged the community to maintain precautionary measures to prevent further spread.

According to Kenya News Agency, Uasin County currently has a COVID-19 immunization rate of 38 percent, significantly lower than the 60 percent threshold required to achieve community immunity. He highlighted the need for joint efforts to encourage community members to accept the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the standard immunization program. Dr. Kuria advised the public to continue adhering to safety protocols, including hand washing and avoiding close social contact, and to disregard false information regarding COVID-19 and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines.

Joshua Maasai, Officer in charge of NVIP in Uasin Gishu, pointed out the decline in public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine, prompting the government and its partners to integrate it into the routine immunization program. He noted that this integration provides an opportunity for everyone, including young girls aged 10 to 14, to access vaccines like the HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer.

Maasai urged the public to consider vaccination during health check-ups at public facilities, enhancing protection against various COVID-19 variants. Ampath Coordinator Reuben Kipsang emphasized the collective responsibility of health stakeholders, including community and religious leaders, to raise awareness about COVID-19 and promote vaccine uptake for community immunity.

Kipsang noted that the future of COVID-19, with anticipated reductions in severity due to increased vaccination, still requires immunity boosting for high-risk populations. He explained that transitioning from campaign-based vaccination to integrating it into routine health services will ensure sustainability and broader coverage.