Kenya: Concern as 200,000 Infants Miss Out on Lifesaving Vaccinations

18 September 2020

Thousands of infants and young girls continue to miss out on all-important vaccinations amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has said.

Data from the Health ministry reveal that at least 200,000 infants and girls aged 10 and below missed out on immunisation between January and June this year.

Dr Lucy Mecca, from the National Vaccines and Immunisation Programme, said 189,000 girls under the age of 10 missed out on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination due to closure of schools.

Only 161,000 girls -- 46 per cent of the targeted 350,000 girls every six months -- received the jab.

Meanwhile, 15,000 children missed out on immunisation, with the numbers dropping from 640,000 between January and June in 2019 to 625,000 over a similar period this year.

"Immunisation has improved over the past decade but Covid-19 has affected the process, especially during the first half of the year," said Dr Mecca while speaking during an intergovernmental immunisation meeting on Thursday.

Health NGOs Network chief executive officer Dr Mercy Onsando said vaccination for expectant mothers has also dropped as they fear going to hospitals lest they contract Covid-19.

"Frequent strikes by health workers and corruption in the health sector has also contributed to the drop in the numbers," said Dr Onsando.

According to data by Institute of Public Finance-Kenya, donor funding for immunisation has been accounting for 65 per cent of the total funds, contributing an average of Sh3.5 billion annually.

The government has only been contributing below Sh1 billion.

Gavi Alliance has been contributing an average of Sh3.5 billion every year.

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