Unmet need for COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Kenya

Muchiri SK, Muthee R, Kiarie H, Sitienei J, Agweyu A, Atkinson PM, Edson Utazi C, Tatem AJ, Alegana VA
Vaccine. 2022;40

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COVID-19 has impacted the health and livelihoods of billions of people since it emerged in 2019. Vaccination for COVID-19 is a critical intervention that is being rolled out globally to end the pandemic. Understanding the spatial inequalities in vaccination coverage and access to vaccination centres is important for planning this intervention nationally. Here, COVID-19 vaccination data, representing the number of people given at least one dose of vaccine, a list of the approved vaccination sites, population data and ancillary GIS data were used to assess vaccination coverage, using Kenya as an example. Firstly, physical access was modelled using travel time to estimate the proportion of population within 1 hour of a vaccination site. Secondly, a Bayesian conditional autoregressive (CAR) model was used to estimate the COVID-19 vaccination coverage and the same framework used to forecast coverage rates for the first quarter of 2022. Nationally, the average travel time to a designated COVID-19 vaccination site (n = 622) was 75.5 min (Range: 62.9 - 94.5 min) and over 87% of the population >18 years reside within 1 hour to a vaccination site. The COVID-19 vaccination coverage in December 2021 was 16.70% (95% CI: 16.66 - 16.74) - 4.4 million people and was forecasted to be 30.75% (95% CI: 25.04 - 36.96) - 8.1 million people by the end of March 2022. Approximately 21 million adults were still unvaccinated in December 2021 and, in the absence of accelerated vaccine uptake, over 17.2 million adults may not be vaccinated by end March 2022 nationally. Our results highlight geographic inequalities at sub-national level and are important in targeting and improving vaccination coverage in hard-to-reach populations. Similar mapping efforts could help other countries identify and increase vaccination coverage for such populations.