Sunday March 28, 2021
By CYRUS OMBATI
The Kenyan troops in Somalia have received their first dose of the Covid-19 jab.
The Director of Medical Services at the Kenya Defence Forces Maj-Gen George Ng’ang’a launched the vaccination exercise for troops deployed under the African Union Mission in Somalia at Sector II Headquarters in Dhobley on Saturday.
This is part of the ongoing Phase 1 of the National Immunisation Programme in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Ng’ang’a urged all the personnel to take part in the immunisation exercise in order to boost the efforts of fighting the pandemic and at the same time have a healthy force, which is critical to serving the nation.
“Let us all embrace prevention mechanisms rather than opting for the curative ones. The KDF leadership has led by example by participating in the vaccination drive and we have not recorded any side effects therefore I assure our troops that the vaccine is safe,” Ng’ang’a said.
He urged the troops to continue observing the World Health Organisation protocols on the containment of the spread of Covid-19.
"We must not drop our guard. We must stick to the protocols issued on containing the spread of the virus – ensuring we maintain social distance, wearing masks, washing and sanitising our hands. That will keep us safe,"he said.
After the launch of the exercise, Sector II Commander Brigadier Jeff Nyaga kicked off the vaccination drive for KDF troops deployed under AMISOM.
Other than the troops, the civilians working for the United Nations based at the Sector II Headquarters were also inoculated.
The troops are in Somalia to help fight al-Shabaab militants who have caused instability in the region at large.
Chief of the Defence Forces Robert Kibochi officially launched KDF Covid -19 vaccination exercise at Kahawa Garrison, Nairobi on March 11.
Kibochi said adhering to the ministry of Health laid down Covid-19 protocols has enabled KDF to fight the global pandemic within and outside KDF and the vaccine has come in handy to boost this effort.
He urged all KDF personnel to turn up for the exercise as it will go a long way in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.
“My message to Kenyans is let’s go ahead and take this preventive medicine. It is not always that you get an opportunity to have free vaccination. The government has taken upon itself to bring the vaccines to as many Kenyans as possible.”
Among those vaccinated were the Vice Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Levi Mghalu, Commander Kenya Army, Lt Gen Walter Koipaton, General Officer Commanding Eastern Command (GOC EastCom) Maj-Gen Ayub Matiiri, Senior Officers, Officers and Service Members.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma also took part in the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination at the Defence Headquarters in Nairobi earlier in the month.
She was accompanied by her Public Service and Gender colleague Margaret Kobia, who said she appreciated the sacrifice of the security personnel and medics.
Major disciplined services have been vaccinated in the ongoing exercise. They include the police, prisons, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service and National Youth Service.