Almost 90 per cent of severely ill Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the country share one thing — they are unvaccinated.
The Ministry of Health states that out of the more than 500 cases that were admitted, more than 400 were unvaccinated. As for the critically ill patients, almost all of them have not been vaccinated against the virus.
All the hospitals have now been advised to keep a vaccination record of patients they admit so that the government can keep tabs on the virus.
The ministry has set up a monitoring and evaluation team, working with epidemiologists from the University of Nairobi, who will come up with a national database of Covid-19 hospital admissions of the vaccinated, and those who are yet to receive the jab.
“When we get to know the status of the patients being admitted, whether they are vaccinated or not, you will be able to tell the trend of the virus,” says Dr Willis Akhwale, the chairman of the National Covid-19 vaccine deployment task force.
If more vaccinated people were being admitted, then the government would get worried, since it would mean there was a new variant.
“It pains me that some Kenyans have just decided not to have the vaccine, they are taking chances and when trouble hits, they rush to the hospital. This virus is not a joke, look at the matter as life and death,” Dr Akhwale said.
In one of the hospitals in Nairobi, four people were yesterday admitted to the ICU and all of them were unvaccinated.
“Most of the patients that we are currently admitting in our ICU are unvaccinated. A good number have either not taken the jab at all or have only taken one dose,” said the nurse in charge.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study showing that unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalised with severe Covid-19 disease. The study conducted between May 1 and July 25 in Los Angeles, California, showed that only about five per cent of the fully vaccinated contracted the disease amid the Delta variant surge.
“These data indicate that authorised vaccines protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe Covid-19, even with increased community transmission of the newly predominant Delta variant,” the CDC study concluded.
The CDC advised that there should be efforts to ramp up Covid-19 vaccination coverage, syncing it with other prevention strategies such as masking, social distancing and hand washing.
Prof Omu Anzala, a virologist and immunologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Nairobi, said vaccine hesitancy is becoming a big issue, and Kenya has to go the promotive and preventive way to have people vaccinated.
“In as much as we are asking people to take the jab, we must not forget other measures, including masking and social distancing, they go together. The trick is avoiding transmission since vaccinated people can still transmit the virus,” he said
Prof Matilu Mwau, an infectious disease researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute said: “We should work towards ensuring that even if we have a surge, very few people, if not none, are knocked. This can only happen if we get vaccinated. We are going to have as many waves as possible provided the virus is still here. We can only defeat this once we are fully protected.”
Kenya has received about nine million doses of various vaccines, which have been distributed across the country. Out of these, 5.3 million doses have been administered, with 3.7 million Kenyans partially vaccinated, and 1.6 million fully vaccinated.
The uptake of the second dose among those who received their first dose stands at 43 per cent, with 5.7 per cent proportion of adults fully vaccinated.
The government is targeting to vaccinate 10 million Kenyans by December, however, with the pace at which Kenyans are taking the process regardless of the availability of the vaccines, the target will still be unreachable.