Govt slams AAR Insurance over COVID jab side effects cover

The number of COVID-19 fatalities in Kenya reached 5,082 on Friday, after the Health Ministry announced 47 new deaths.

Health CS Kagwe slams AAR Insurance for advertising a cover for adverse side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations.

This follows an advertisement by AAR Insurance that they are offering to cover for “adverse side effects” arising from COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Not only is this advert unethical, it denotes/suggests that vaccines are unsafe and need underwriting,” said CS Kagwe.

The post is reported as stating that “vaccination will help stop the pandemic, get covered against the adverse side effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine”

In June 8 this year, AAR Insurance introduced ‘Chanjo’ cover, catering for medical expenses arising from the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, with a cover limit of Ksh 500,000 for inpatient treatment.

According to its press release, the cover was the first of its kind in the market.

The vaccine insurance also comes with a Ksh.500,000 last expense benefit, in partnership with Pioneer Assurance.

“It is important to emphasize that the vaccines so far approved by the World Health Organization are safe. However, in the unlikely event of adverse reactions resulting in hospitalization and even death, this cover caters for treatment and last expenses incurred up to the prescribed limit”, said AAR Insurance Managing Director, Nixon Shigoli.

MoH in a press release Wednesday protested AAR I Insurance cover saying all vaccines deployed for COVID-19 vaccination in Kenya have received both WHO and Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board Emergency Use Listing.

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These vaccines have been evaluated and found to be safe for use to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

CS Kagwe said the vaccine is safe with mild side effects which include headache, nausea and fever are common to other vaccines as well.

He said insurance against side effects is not only unnecessary but unethical and that no company should claim to provide insurance services against vaccine side effects or 3 side effects of any medicine.

“The Government warns any company or groupings that are out to profiteer from the Covid-19 pandemic that it is criminal and punishable by law in accordance with the Public Health Act. They should therefore desist from the malpractice otherwise the law will take its cause.”

Coronavirus jabs are being administered at no cost with no direct expenses.

Kenya began nationwide vaccination with the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine in March this year. So far close to 2 million doses have been administered countrywide.

This vaccine is safe with mild side effects which include headache, nausea and fever.

Coronavirus cases in Kenya shoot to 215,730 on August 11 after 1,974 new cases were rocorded from 13,407 samples. This pushed the country’s positivity rate to 14.7 percent even as 30 more patients succumbed.

Nairobi had the highest infections with 700 cases followed by Mombasa 147, Kiambu 139, Nyeri 128, Nakuru 116, Machakos 87, Nyandarua 62, Kirinyaga 47, Kilifi 41, Busia 39, Kajiado 39, Murang’a 35, Nandi 34, Kericho 30.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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