Do not fly unvaccinated passengers, airlines told
The government has ordered all airlines arriving in the country not to carry unvaccinated passengers beginning December 21.
Directive is a follow-up to the initial order that was issued by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe last month, stating that no Kenyan will access government services unless they prove they are fully vaccinated.
“Effective the same date, anybody coming from outside the country will need to be fully vaccinated. Airlines have been informed that if anybody gets on board and comes into the country not having been vaccinated, such people become the problem of the airline and not Kenya,” Kagwe issued the warning on Monday night when received some 4.6 million vaccine doses at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The doses included 4.2 million J&J, a donation from the German Government and 400,000 AstraZeneca from Argentina.
Kagwe emphasised that all passengers boarding Kenyan-bound flights must produce proof that they have been vaccinated.
“We have instructed our airlines as such,” Kagwe held, cautioning Kenyans not to wait for the last minute to crowd vaccination centres for Covid-19 jab.
And as the December 21 deadline fast approaches, religious leaders are offering their various places of worship to be used as vaccination centers with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya set to make a formal announcement to this effect this morning.
The move, according to Kagwe, is aimed at fast-tracking the government’s 10 million vaccination target. “What we are trying to avoid is a crisis come December 21. We have set that deadline very clearly,” the CS stated.
He continued: “For that reason, we are telling Kenyans not to wait for the last moment. Let it not be the usual thing of waiting until the last minute for you to start rushing for the vaccine. The best time is now. The best time is the hour that you have, go and get vaccinated.”
Kagwe said the country now stands at a comfortable position as far as the nationwide vaccination campaign is concerned.
“There is no excuse for anybody to say we do not have vaccines and that there are long queues. The ministry will ensure a perfect system is in place where the Chanjo system is working and continue working effectively,” he said.
He, however, reiterated that nobody is being forced to take the jab, noting that vaccination is not mandatory.
“I am asking Kenyans to take advantage of the abundance of vaccines in the country and get vaccinated to avoid interruptions in their normal schedules. This week alone, we are receiving an additional 1.2 million doses of J&J from the US,” he said.
On Monday, Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Task Force Chairman Dr Willis Akhwale said by the end of the year, the country would have secured an estimated 25-26 million vaccine doses.
“This will be sufficient for us as we move to vaccinate 27 million adult Kenyans by March 2022,” he told People Daily.
Between today and Friday, Akhwale said the country will receive up to 2.6 million doses of J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines from the US and through the Africa Union.2
“We are going to receive an additional 2.6 million before the end of the week,” he said.
The government is procuring 1.6 million J&J doses through the Africa Union platform and also receiving a donation of 1 million from the US.