from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – KENYAN authorities have been urged to amend measures requiring everyone seeking government services to be fully vaccinated.
Human rights groups said the measures undermine basic rights.
The proposed measures, announced less than a month ago, will go into effect on December 21.
Given that approximately 10 percent of adults in Kenya had been vaccinated by the end of November, based on Health Ministry figures, Human Rights Watch (HRW) argued the requirement risks violating the rights to work, health, education, and social security for millions.
“While the government has an obligation to protect its people from serious public health threats, the measures must be reasonable and proportional,” said Adi Radhakrishnan, Africa research fellow at HRW.
“Vaccination coverage hinges on availability and accessibility, and the government’s new measures could leave millions of Kenyans unable to get essential government services.”
On November 21, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for health, Mutahi Kagwe, announced that beginning December 21, authorities will require anyone seeking government services to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.
The services affected will include public transportation, education, immigration, hospitals, and prison visitation.
Proof of vaccination will also be mandatory for entering national parks, hotels and restaurants.
Kenya reportedly lacks sufficient supply of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that all adults have been catered for.
Kenya’s vaccination campaign began in March prioritizing health workers, teachers, security personnel, and people over the age of 58. Eligibility expanded to all adults starting in June.
Currently, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Sinopharm vaccines are available in Kenya.
Kenya, with an estimated adult population of 27,2 million and a total population of 55 million, has received approximately 23 million doses as of December 11.
The East African country has documented 256 484 cases, including 5 349 deaths at the time of publication.
– CAJ News