NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 26 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered his entire Cabinet and members of the Executive to lead by example and get vaccinated against Coronavirus.
State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita on Friday tweeted a photo of him getting the Oxford Astrazeneca jab.
“As the government scales up the rollout of the national COVID-19 vaccine program, the President has directed his entire Cabinet and Executive office to lead by example and get the jab. Received mine this morning under the watchful guidance of the Ministry of Health vaccination team,” he tweeted.
Whereas the Head of State is yet to receive the jab himself, the move is likely to spur confidence among Kenyans who have been hesitant to get the jab over safety issues raised in Europe where most countries have stopped its use after reports of blood clots.
This is a departure to what the Cabinet had ratified last month that only front-line workers including those in the medical sector, security and teachers should first get vaccinated during the phase one of the exercise.
Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday urged Kenyans to get vaccinated and promised to get the jab soon himself once he gets the opportunity this even as he stressed that the jab will go a long way in reducing the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.
“It is important for Kenyans to get vaccinated; I urge every Kenyan to get vaccinated because it is through the vaccination that we will be able to reduce the severity of the disease and perhaps our fatality rate will decline,” he said
The Ministry of Health on Thursday also urged political, religious and community leaders to take the COVID-19 vaccine so as to boost confidence among Kenyans.
COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce Chairperson Willis Akwale said the government will give priority to elderly persons aged 58 years and above.
The appeal followed concerns by a section of Kenyans, especially on social media, who questioned why leaders including President Kenyatta his deputy Ruto and Governors are not leading by example in getting the jab.
“The Ministry of Health calls upon all political, religious and community leaders to take the vaccine so as to boost confidence in the overall vaccination process among vaccination target groups,” Akwale stated.
There has been speculation on both the efficacy and safety of the vaccine thus creating hesitancy even among frontline workers.
Since the vaccination exercise was launched in the country three weeks ago, only about 60,000 people, mostly frontline workers, have been vaccinated. Few political leaders have publicly presented themselves for vaccination.
Kenya received 1.02 million vaccine doses at the beginning of March shipped in by UNICEF as part of the global COVAX alliance, which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines for all countries around the world.
The vaccines were availed free of charge as the Kenyan government did not incur any cost in procuring and transportation.