Ministry intensifies campaign to enforce Covid jab measures

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022 09:03 | By
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. PHOTO/Courtesy

The government will kick off an intensified campaign tomorrow, to enforce measures barring Kenyans who have not received the Covid jab from accessing services. According to Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mutahi Kagwe, the enforcement would be conducted simultaneously with a mass drive to vaccinate more people.

In a renewed effort, Kagwe said the government would still enforce the measures, which he said had started bearing fruit. “We are aware that over the last couple of weeks, we are now seeing a continued decline in the positivity rate, hospitalisations and fatality rates because of the measures we took,” he said.

Kagwe stated that casualties of the Covid-19 attack in the last couple of weeks have essentially been persons who have not been vaccinated.

“We don’t know where the next wave is going to come from. But what we do know for sure, is that if we fully vaccinate our people to reach about 90 per cent of the population, we will see reduced infections and fatalities,” Kagwe said.

Vaccination certificates

At the moment despite Kenya holding on to over 20 million doses of Covid vaccines, the country is doing badly in terms of vaccinations at about 20 per cent, the CS noted. “

That’s not enough and it is dangerous. Effective, this week we are launching a mass countrywide vaccination campaign during which we shall enforce the measures we announced late last year,” he stated.

He said the new campaign is informed by the opportunity that the country has an avalanche of vaccines waiting to be used. “We will now go intensively to vaccinate our people in readiness for whatever else is coming,” he stated, cautioning that going forward the government doesn’t expect to follow Kenyans around to ensure that they are vaccinated.

“However, you will see that there will be checks starting from Thursday; more intensified checks in relation to the measures. It is good for Kenyans to appreciate that you don’t need to see policemen forcing people to do things they are supposed to do voluntarily,” he added.

The government announced in November that it would require people to show vaccination certificates from December 21 to access in-person government services, including hospitals, schools, tax and immigration offices.

But High Court Judge Antony Mrima suspended the order pending the hearing of a case filed by a businessman; who termed the directive “tyrannical” and a gross violation of the Constitution.

Though the judge did not lift the orders yesterday when the case came up for hearing, Kagwe did not specify whether the government will ignore Justice Mrima’s suspension of the directive until the matter is heard and determined.

Speaking at the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) main campus, Kagwe said the country has over 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that need to be utilised before they expire.

 “It is the responsibility of every Kenyan to be safe. It is not the government’s responsibility to follow them around to ensure they adhere to measures meant for their good,” he stated.

Kagwe was launching the English language training programme for slightly over 300 nurses, who are expected to join the UK’s health workforce towards the end of the year. Kagwe said the government expects the public to fully comply with certain pronouncements, particularly those aimed at ensuring their safety.

Own responsibility “For instance, when we announce that people won’t access government services because they have not been vaccinated, we expect everyone to take their own responsibility,” he said.

On November 21, 2021, Kagwe and his Tourism counterpart Najib Balala, announced that the government would withhold services for the yet to be vaccinated Kenyans.

He said those who fail to get vaccinated would be denied access to public transport and hotels, national parks and game reserves.

“Proof of vaccination will be required in the following settings: all organised events, including weddings, funerals, receptions, organiserd parties, conferences, sports, trade fairs and workshops,” the CS said shortly before Christmas festivities.

This had earlier prompted some Kenyans to petition for a court order to stop implementation of the measures. Justice Mrima made the ruling on December 14, in an application by city lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, who stated that the directive was against the law as vaccination should be voluntary.

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