Vaccine Apathy Rife Due To Poor Messaging, Senate Committee told
NAIROBI, 17th March – Health worker representative groups have today expressed full support for the vaccine rollout by the Government but have in the same breath decried lack of inclusivity and poor messaging on the part of Ministry of Health (MoH).
Appearing before the Senate Standing Committee on Health presided by Ag Chair, Sen Ledama Olekina, health associations and unions linked the aforementioned reasons to the vaccine hesitancy being experienced among their professionals and the general population.
“The roll out was not done in consultation with the health care workers, so one of the major issues we are dealing with is vaccine hesitancy and more so because there has been inadequate information about the vaccine,” noted Chibanzi Mwachonda, Ag Sec Gen, Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).
“Nurses have not been sensitized on matters to do with this vaccine. We are the vaccinators…patients will ask pertinent questions as we carry out the vaccination exercises. Questions such as: should I continue wearing a mask, what are the side effects? These have not been answered,” Seth Panyako, General Secretary at Kenya National Union of Nurses explained.
According to a survey on Covid-19 Vaccine Acceptability conducted by the Kenya Progressive Nurses Association, 80 percent of nurses say they shall not get vaccinated; with 59 percent of them raising safety concerns.
The Senate Committee gave assurances that it shall coordinate a meeting between the Ministry of Health, Council of Governors with the health professional bodies for consensus building. It further noted that vaccination is an important step toward attaining herd immunity across the population and restrict the virus’ ability to mutate to new variants.