Trans Nzoia Religious Leaders Lead Vaccination Campaign to Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake

About 68% of Trans Nzoia residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while only 40% have received their second dose, and only 18,000 adults have received the booster dose, according to recent statistics.

Speaking at the launch of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination sensitization program, led by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, the program coordinator, Mr. Abdul Majid Nassir, expressed concern over the low vaccine uptake and announced that the organization would engage religious leaders to sensitize their congregations about the importance of the vaccine.

Through a partnership with the Inter-Religious Council Trans Nzoia chapter, working alongside the local administration and the Ministry of Health, the coordinators plan to visit churches, mosques, temples, and other public institutions, including colleges and technical institutions, to sensitize and vaccinate the residents. Mr. Majid warned that COVID-19 was still a threat and that the vaccine aimed to boost immunity against the virus in case of any future outbreaks.

The County Health Promotion Coordinator, Leah Okumu, echoed Mr. Majid’s concerns, adding that many Trans Nzoia residents had lowered their guard against the virus. She emphasized the need to practice basic prevention measures, such as washing hands regularly with soap and water, wearing face masks in crowded places, maintaining social distance, and most importantly, taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mrs. Okumu also highlighted that many Trans Nzoia residents were assuming that COVID-19 was no longer a threat, leading them to flock to the Eldoret Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) for treatment. She commended the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya for initiating the second phase of the sensitization program, which utilizes religious leaders to educate the residents on the vaccine’s importance.
Bishop Raymond Mutama, the Trans Nzoia County Inter-Religious Council chapter chairman, launched the three-month sensitization and vaccination exercise at the Kitale Bus Terminus. The program will involve members of the Inter-Religious Council working with the County Government Ministry of Health to educate the public on the vaccine’s importance.
Bishop Mutama emphasized the religious leaders’ role in sensitizing their congregations and the public on the vaccine’s significance, especially with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the low vaccine uptake in the county. He also called on the country’s leadership to ensure a peaceful environment for the council to carry out the exercise, stating that it would not be possible to conduct the program during chaos and demonstrations in the country.
Bishop Benson Musaket Masai and Pastor John Wanjalah, members of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya Trans Nzoia chapter, echoed Bishop Mutama’s sentiments, stating that the religious organization was most affected by the pandemic. The religious leaders promised to sensitize the masses and their congregations with the help of the local administration and the Trans Nzoia County Government Ministry of Health, aiming to increase the number of people vaccinated by the end of the three-month COVID-19 vaccination campaign in June this year.

The leaders cautioned those spreading false information about the vaccination exercises, asserting that the government and the church could not mislead people about the vaccine’s importance. They emphasized that the vaccine was crucial in boosting a person’s immunity against the COVID-19 virus and was safe for all individuals aged 12 and above. They urged the public to turn out in large numbers to get vaccinated.

The Inter-Religious Council chairperson also announced that the county government, through the Ministry of Health, at both the county and national levels, would provide all the vaccines free of charge. They encouraged individuals to visit health facilities near them to get vaccinated.

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