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The mortality impact of COVID-19 in Africa remains controversial because most countries lack vital registration. We analysed excess mortality in Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System, Kenya, using 9 years of baseline data. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence studies suggest most adults here were infected before May 2022. During 5 waves of COVID-19 (April 2020-May 2022) an overall excess mortality of 4.8% (95% PI 1.2%, 9.4%) concealed a significant excess (11.6%, 95% PI 5.9%, 18.9%) among older adults ( ≥ 65 years) and a deficit among children aged 1-14 years (-7.7%, 95% PI -20.9%, 6.9%). The excess mortality rate for January 2020-December 2021, age-standardised to the Kenyan population, was 27.4/100,000 person-years (95% CI 23.2-31.6). In Coastal Kenya, excess mortality during the pandemic was substantially lower than in most high-income countries but the significant excess mortality in older adults emphasizes the value of achieving high vaccine coverage in this risk group.

Original publication





Nature communications

Publication Date





KEMRI-Wellcome Research Trust Programme, PO Box 230, Kilifi, 80108, Kenya.


Humans, Cohort Studies, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Aged, Child, Kenya, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2