Healthcare workers fear Kenya might not attain Covid-19 herd immunity due to hesitance in uptake of the vaccine.
The workers’ representatives told the Senate Standing Committee on Health that their low uptake of the jab might hamper the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination rollout as acceptability of the vaccine among healthcare employees is only at five per cent.
Kenya Professional Nurses Association’s representative Triza Ireri told the Senate committee, chaired by Ledama Olekina, that a survey they conducted revealed that 80 per cent of nurses said they would not be vaccinated. Reasons cited for low uptake include lack of involvement in the rollout process, lack of sensitisation and training on safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Others said taking the jab was voluntary and hence they were exercising freedom of choice.
About 45 per cent of nurses surveyed said they would advise their families to wait, while 13 per cent said they would advise against the jab.
Ms Ireri told the Committee that “nurses and healthcare workers are not believing in the vaccines, yet they are the ones to give the right information to the public.”
According to Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) acting Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda, the rollout did not engage healthcare workers, yet “employees are not immune to what is happening.”
“Healthcare workers understand vaccines, but there is need for engagement, more so on concerns around effects of Covid-19 vaccine that is new. There is also no clear path on how they will get treatment if they are affected,” said Dr Mwachonda.