Parents Prepare to Travel Long Distances for Vaccines for Their Children as Shortages Persist

Parents Prepare to Travel Long Distances for Vaccines for Their Children as Shortages Persist

Parents across the country continue to endure the pain of vaccine shortages for children and have to travel long distances to ensure their children receive the vaccine.

In Baringo, Betty Toroitich is among the parents who visited the Baringo Referral Hospital to get vaccinated. She was forced to travel about 60 kilometers again to the center to try her luck after her son did not receive the polio and pentavalent vaccines.

The pentavalent vaccine protects children from five life-threatening diseases: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and Hib disease.

“I tried twice without success at a clinic in Bartwaba, so I decided to travel to Baringo and discovered that there is a shortage here too,” he said.

Another parent noted that trips to a health center are disappointing because they always return home with unvaccinated children. In Kisii, parents lament the shortage. Felix Odhiambo says his son did not receive the polio and BCG vaccine last month.

“We appeal to the government to ensure the safety of our children by providing us with vaccines. “We live in fear that the more our children miss vacations it could affect their overall health,” he stated.

Speaking on the Sema Na Citizen Show, Dr Ngala Mwendwa noted that vaccines play a very important role in ensuring that children do not die from deadly but preventable diseases.

“The situation is poor and it is the government’s job to ensure that all children in the country are vaccinated, otherwise we will undo the efforts made over the years,” he said.

Although a delay is expected due to unpredictable circumstances, the doctor points out that the government must be prepared for it.

According to the doctor, delay in vaccination will affect the child’s immunity and that is why we emphasize timely vaccination

“It is important to work with the schedule because there are vaccines such as rotavirus that we do not vaccinate in children over five years of age due to serious side effects,” he explained.

Although a child can receive all vaccines once they are available, it is important to note that they have their own side effects.

“The government must ensure that there is enough money to secure these vaccines and be able to carry out a smooth vaccination process,” he said.

Baringo County Hospital Superintendent Gerishon Abakalwa notes that the county is now operating on the red line, with the current stock of childhood vaccines expected to last for the next two weeks. He expressed concern by noting that they are running out of oral BCG polio, measles and rubella, as well as yellow fever.

“This is a regional issue and not really a Baringo issue. What we have may not reach us until mid-June, when the regional store told us they will be available,” he said.

The countrywide vaccine shortage has been linked to a debt of Ksh3.6 billion that the government owes to UNICEF and GAVI, which procure and distribute vaccines under a co-financing model.