Alarm in Kenyan prisons as warders fear taking Covid-19 jab

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 15 Oct, 2021 13:32 | 2 mins read
Prison warders during a pass out. Photo used for illustration purpose only. PHOTO/COURTESY

The government hopes to meet 100 percent of the Covid-19 mass vaccination exercise in all the prisons across the country by Friday, October 15, Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu has said.

Guchu said the exercise which started two weeks ago was progressing well despite some challenges after a section of prison warders refused to take the jab.

The CAS said the reception was warm among the inmates who are among those targeted ahead of the planned resumption of visitations in the prisons.

Speaking at the Bomet GK prison on Thursday, October 14 the CAS who is on a countrywide visit to all correctional facilities in the country to monitor the vaccination program said the exercise will hit 90 percent achievement by Friday.

“We are happy because the exercise is going on smoothly, we know our inmates have never been visited and that has had a negative effect on them that is why we want to reopen it soon,” she said.

Urging the officers and their family members to take the jab, the CAS pointed out that while the exercise was voluntary it was for the officer’s own safety and for the visitors when visitation resumes.

The CAS disclosed that among a total 52,000 inmates spread across the country, 90 percent had been vaccinated.

While encouraging the officers to take the jab, Guchu noted with concern that most of them had refused to get vaccinated, something she said was likely to deal a blow to the full suppression of the virus in the correctional facilities.

She also stated that once the exercise comes to an end the ministry of interior will hold discussions with health officials to agree on the best measures and protocols to be adopted so that the planned visits to the facilities cannot in any way lead to the spread of the virus.

Present during the event was Bomet prisons officer in charge Kebwaro Tanaka, County Health Executive member Joseph Sitonik, Bomet central sub county police commander Musa Imamai among other officials.

Ogalo on his part stressed the need for officers manning the prisons in the country to get vaccinated stating that the jab was for their own benefit.

“This jab keeps us safe, our family members and those that we interact with so there is no need for fear…the virus is still around with us so let us set a good example to others. When we take this vaccine, the effects will not be fatal,” Ogallo said.

Sitonik on his part said his officers will continue sensitizing and counseling the public and even the state officers who are resisting the jab noting that there are enough vaccines in the county.