NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – The government announced a radical plan on Sunday aimed at supporting an ongoing COVID vaccination campaign, threatening to withhold key services from Kenyans who fail to take vaccines.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe who was flanked by his Tourism and Wildlife counterpart Najib Balala said those who fail to take vaccines will be denied access to public transport and hotels beginning December 21.
Kagwe further announced that the government will also withhold key services including those offered by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) among other agencies.
“Everybody seeking in person government services should be fully vaccinated and proof of vaccination availed by December 21, 2021. Such services will include but not limited to, KRA services, education, immigration services, hospital and prison visitation, NTSA and port services among others,” he said
Kagwe pointed out that some of the directives are derived from the Public Health Act which he said empowers the ministry to take such drastic measures especially during a pandemic.
The CS said the move is aimed at protecting government workers and service providers in other sectors insisting “those who have been vaccinated will not risk their lives serving those who have refused to be vaccinated”.
“Nobody is saying that it is mandatory to be vaccinated but if you want to come to my office for services and everyone there is vaccinated and you are not, that is unfair. The law is clear and it is on our side. The courts cannot force somebody who is vaccinated, to entertain someone who is not vaccinated,” Kagwe said.
“The key reason why all of us need to be vaccinated is to ensure that we keep the economy going and make sure we do not back to hospitalization and people suffering at home,” he added.
Balala also announced that unvaccinated persons will be denied access to hospitality facilities warning that those who will contravene the directive will be held personally liable.
“All national parks and protected areas will need to demand for the same from 21 of December. What we want is to control the spread of infections because it is going to be a festive season and we will celebrate and enjoy but we need to do that while we are safe,” Balala said.
As at Sunday 6.4 million people had been vaccinated with 2.4 million people having been fully vaccinated. The government had aimed to vaccinate at least 10 million people by the end of the year.