Governors from the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) have asked the government to allow them to import COVID-19 vaccines on their own in a bid to contain the surge of infections in the region.

Led by LREB Chair, Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the county bosses said vaccination is key in controlling further spread of the virus in the region which has recorded 2, 171 new cases over the last one week.

The governors noted that the three million jabs procured by the Ministry of Health are not enough to accelerate vaccination across the country.

Governor Oparanya said it is imperative that they be allowed to import the vaccines to augment efforts by the national government.

Oparanya who chaired the LREB summit to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the region said governors shall hold regular meetings to strategize on how to combat the disease.

He noted that sharing of data has been enhanced for effective decision-making.

The Kakamega governor, however, said oxygen shortage remains a big challenge with many patients admitted in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) across the region requiring oxygen supplementation.

At he same time, Kisii Governor James Ongwae asked the Ministry of Health to allow the use of rapid testing kits to scale up COVID-19 testing across the country.

His remarks were echoed by Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o who asked the Ministry to issue guidelines on rapid testing and allow counties to import the kits to scale up testing.

Prof. Nyong’o said testing was crucial in mapping the extent of the virus spread to aid in containment strategies.