My grandmother’s heart is now failing, and mine is breaking. These were the words of CNN media personality Larry Madowo.
Madowo told CNN on Wednesday that every time he sees a call from home, his heart sinks.
“I always fear that they’re ringing to say that my grandmother has died. She has been on a ventilator for four weeks and my anxiety is near breaking point,” he said.
His grandmother, 96, is among hundreds of millions in the developing world who was not vaccinated until recently.
“By the time my grandmother got vaccinated by local officials it was already too late as she had been infected by Covid-19,” he said adding that she outlived her husband by more than 25 years.
“All I needed to get protection was walk to a nearby drugstore in Washington, DC. But many people like my grandmother have died, or will die, because of the accident of where they live. Her heart is now failing, and mine is breaking,” he said.
“Though I’m more than 60 years younger than her, I was fully inoculated by April because I was living in the United States, where anybody over 12 can get a vaccine if they want one.”
Madowo says that he fears that Covid-19 would knock on his door once more.
He narrates how his uncle died last month leaving him devastated.
“I was heartbroken and angry. He was not vaccinated because Kenya didn’t — and still does not — have enough shots even for a senior like him,” he said.
“Justus was buried within 48 hours as the Kenyan government requires. He was the third family member who had died in the pandemic that I didn’t get a chance to mourn properly or see laid to rest.”
Madowo blames vaccine inequality in Africa that he says leads to deaths.
Kenya is among countries that have been hit by vaccine shortage after the Indian government halted vaccine exports due to satisfy domestic demand.
But the Health ministry is yet to decide whether mixing vaccines from different manufacturers will be the next viable option.
Last week, the government said it is targeting to have vaccinated at least 13 million Kenyans by December,
Acting Health director-general Patrick Amoth said the Ministry of Health has ordered 13 million doses of single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine which are expected in the country soon.
He said the vaccine is more effective compared to the two-shot of AstraZeneca vaccine which had earlier been ordered.
The government is currently prioritizing second doses for health workers, teachers, other essential workers and people aged 58 and above.