Kenya is stepping up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign by setting up inoculation centers in public spaces like malls, markets, and bus stops. Authorities hope the extra convenience will lift a vaccination rate that stands at just 2%.
At a bus terminal in Nairobi, hundreds of people wait to get vaccinated. It's an exercise that has saved them long-distance travel to the designated vaccination centers.
Walter Juma, a public bus conductor, is getting ready to receive his first COVID-19 jab. He said because of the demanding nature of his job, he could not find the time to go for vaccination at the health facilities.
"The vaccination is now near my place of work and home," Walter said. "This has helped a lot. There are other people who cannot walk for long, the elderly and some are sick."
Health officials said the number of people turning up for their vaccinations has doubled since more inoculation sites opened a month ago. Jackline Kerubo is a sub-county medical officer.
"We've decided to come to the community because usually we give Monday to Friday at our public health facilities, but you find most people don't have time to come, so we decided to come to the community so that we increase accessibility to the vaccine," Jackline said.
Kenya is receiving more vaccine doses from the U.S. government and other nations, so the supply is much better than during the first phase of the vaccination program.
With its new vaccination strategy, Kenya's vaccination taskforce chairman, Dr. Willies Akhwale, says they are hoping to vaccinate at least 10 million people by the end of the year.
"We are now using about 800 centers, and we are going to gradually increase this to 3,000 centers by December," Willies said. "Increasing them means you are reaching people; you are opening vaccination center closer to where people are."
So far, 2.5 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine in Kenya.