KIBERA, Kenya — Nearly 10 months after a grandmother in England became the first person in the world to get vaccinated against Covid-19 outside of a clinical trial, we were finally able to start vaccinating residents of Kibera, one of Africa’s largest informal settlements.
That first jab was a long time coming.
In March 2021, the Kenyan government prioritized vaccination as one of the key measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, reduce community transmission, severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. The informal employment sector had significantly closed, four out of five residents of Kibera and other informal settlements had lost their income, and a majority of households were facing hunger. The level of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, was even higher since people had literally nowhere to go every day. A successful vaccination program would allow for the full reopening of our economy.
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