Africa

COVID-19 vaccines not harmful to people living with chronic illnesses: Kenya’s health ministry

Vaccination against COVID-19 does not threaten the lives of people living with chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension and cancer, Kenya’s health ministry clarified on Wednesday.

The clarification came at a virtual media roundtable organized by the ministry which seeks to accelerate the country’s ongoing vaccination drive.

“The message the media needs to take out there, is that people with chronic conditions need the vaccine. Chronic disease is not a contraindication for vaccination, it is a priority if you have any of these conditions,” Dr Willis Akhwale, the health ministry’s COVID-19 vaccine taskforce chairman, said.

Like many countries around the world, Kenya is keen to tackle misinformation on vaccines, which has been blamed partly for vaccine hesitancy.

The East African country hopes to convince vaccine skeptics to go for the jab by ensuring the obtain the right information about the jabs.

On her part, Dr Lucy Mecca, vaccine quality and supply manager at the National Vaccines and Immunization Program Kenya, reiterated that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines outweigh any risks of side effects.

By Wednesday, the total number of vaccinated persons in Kenya stood at 2,585,664 with fully vaccinated people being 791,295.

The country has recorded 232,052 COVID-19 infections with 4,600 deaths.

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