Vihiga leads in childhood immunisation as Garissa trails

Child immunisation against polio at Moi Lane, Nairobi, on July 19, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The rate of childhood immunisation in Kenya has increased, with at least 80 per cent of children having received all the recommended vaccines.

In contrast, two per cent of children have not received any form of vaccination.

According to the 2022 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey report released yesterday, Vihiga County leads in immunisation coverage at 96 per cent.

Other counties with high uptake of vaccines include Nyandarua (95pc), Murang'a (95pc), Tharaka Nthi (95pc), and Mombasa at 93 per cent.

Counties with low immunisation rates include Turkana (60pc), West Pokot (49pc), Wajir (49pc), Mandera (29pc), and Garissa at 23 per cent.

"In terms of vaccination coverage, more children are fully immunised," said the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director General MacDonald Obudho.

The immunisations that are routinely administered include measles, polio, pneumococcal, rotavirus, and BCG.

Vaccination is done to prevent childhood diseases that contribute to infant morbidity and mortality.

In Kenya, routine childhood vaccines are guided by the Expanded Immunization Program (EIP).

Childhood vaccinations under the programme include Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)- administered at birth for tuberculosis, rotarix (rotavirus vaccine) at weeks 6 and 10, and DPT (diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, and tetanus).

Other vaccines include Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal, measles and rubella. The schedule also includes inactivated polio vaccine that was introduced as part of routine childhood vaccines in 2015.

"The vaccination coverage rate for basic antigens increased dramatically between 1989 and 1993 and dipped to a low of 52 per cent in 2003. There has been a sustained upward trend since 2008-09, with coverage in 2022 at 80pc."

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