KENYA – The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has strongly recommended an adjustment in the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign with a focus on the elderly in the society and those with comorbidities.
The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme announced that the COVID-19 vaccination campaign can achieve greater value for money if it focuses on the elderly after assessing the latest modelling on COVID-19 vaccine scale-up within the country.
The national institute has advised the health ministry to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the people who need the doses first as opposed to the current strategy which pursues scaling up vaccines to the whole population to effectively combat COVID-19.
Additionally, the data results on the COVID-19 vaccine scale-up in Kenya will help policymakers across the African continent to determine how to structure impactful, cost-effective and long-term COVID-19 responses.
The new vaccination approach recommended by KEMRI is also in line with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention call for nations to re-focus their COVID-19 vaccination programs on the kinds of strategies that will save more lives for less money.
Moreover, the research institute stressed that an adjustment in Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccination approach to target the elderly and those with risk increasing comorbidities will be effective in supporting areas with overall low risk of severe disease and death, high natural immunity and constrained resources
“Vaccines work thus ensuring older adults and other at-risk groups receive shots quickly is the best way to achieve greater health outcomes and is better value for money,” said Professor Edwine Barasa, Director at the Nairobi Programme of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme.
Professor Edwine explained that the recommendation comes after the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust research team modelled a broad range of COVID-19 vaccine scale-up scenarios and tested each one for cost-effectiveness and its impact on the spread of the disease.
The Ministry of Health has also been urged to integrate COVID-19 fully into Kenya’s regular health system in order to implement the COVID-19 vaccine program accordingly as well as to support disease management of other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.
Meanwhile, the Kenya Medical Research Institute recently launched the initial phase of a cloud-based vaccination tracking system which stores mother and baby’s information to track their complete medical history.
KEMRI partnered with the Nippon Electric Company to launch the innovation which uses fingerprint, voice and face recognition with an aim to accurately retrieve important health summary statistics such as vaccination coverage.