Kenya Says Insurance Against Covid-19 Side Effects “Unethical”

Kenya’s Ministry of Health says insurance against Covid-19 vaccine side effects is “unethical”.

The AstraZeneca/ Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. PHOTO Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya’s Ministry of Health says insurance against Covid-19 vaccine side effects is “unethical”.

In addition, the government warned that to profiteer from the Covid-19 pandemic is ‘criminal and
punishable by law’ in accordance with the Public Health Act.

“The Ministry of Health wishes to state that insurance against side effects is not only unnecessary but unethical. No company should claim to provide insurance services against vaccine side effects or side effects of any medicine,” the ministry said.

It added that “An advertisement of such services is misleading to the public and creates unnecessary anxiety among people who are already at risk of severe Covid-19 disease.”

In a statement posted on its website, the ministry says vaccines being administered in the country are safe and have received emergency use listing by both the World Health Organization and the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board. 

 “In addition, the vaccine is offered for free, and no direct expenses should be incurred by clients seeking to be vaccinated.”

The ministry’s warning was a response to AAR Insurance that had announced to offer “Chanjo Cover” plan.

The plan according to its advert was rated at  Ksh 2,950 ($27) and hospital medical expenses of up to Ksh 500,000.

However, the insurance firm in a series of tweets said, “Following concerns raised about the AAR Chanjo product, the Company has consulted various stakeholders and wish to advise that the product (AAR Chanjo) has been withdrawn from circulation.” 

The ministry noted that the vaccine is safe with mild side effects which include headache, nausea and fever common to other vaccines as well.

“The Ministry of Health has also put in place additional safety monitoring programs through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.”

On Monday, the ministry said as of Sunday, a total of 2,053,717 vaccines had been administered across the country. Of these, the total first doses are 1,305,850 while the second doses are 747,867.

“The uptake of the second dose among those who received their first dose is at57.3 per cent with the majority being males at 55 per cent while females are at45 per cent. The proportion of adults fully vaccinated is 2.7 per cent.

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