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Showdown looms as vaccination deadline lapses

Health ministry had given Kenyans until December 21 to get the jab or fail to get government services

In Summary

•Despite a court order stopping the implementation of the directive, the government has said those who want to access services must show proof of vaccination but said nobody is being forced to get the jab.

•Health director general Patrick Amoth said the decision by the court will not stop the implementation of the directives.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

A showdown is expected at several government offices from Tuesday when the vaccination deadline lapses.

The Health ministry had given Kenyans until December 21 to get vaccinated, failure to which they will not get government services.

Despite a court order stopping the implementation of the directive, the government has said those who want to access services must show proof of vaccination but said nobody is being forced to get the jab.

“I don’t know why anybody went to court about this mandatory issue because there is nothing like that. Nobody is being forced to be vaccinated, if you want to come to a government office, we have so many people we don’t want to expose,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said.

“It is okay, go online, make a telephone call but if you want to come physically it is only fair that we protect them otherwise it is irresponsible enough to expose your family then you want to expose your colleagues.” 

The High Court on Wednesday last week issued an order stopping the directive by the government requiring everybody seeking in-person government services to be fully vaccinated.

Justice Anthony Mrima issued the order and directed the matter be heard on January 4.

“Kagwe has not disclosed to Kenyans what exactly was contained in the Covid-19 vaccines, or possible side effects, which are now being administered,” an application by Enock Aura said.

Health director general Patrick Amoth said the decision by the court will not stop the implementation of the directives.

“The position still stands because Kenya is a democratic society, if you want to go to court you are free to go to court but remember even freedom is not absolute freedom,” Amoth said.

On November 21, Kagwe, in the company of CS Tourism Najib Balala, issued directives to effect that everybody seeking in-person government services should be fully vaccinated and proof of vaccination availed.

The services to be affected include but are not limited to KRA services, Education, Immigration, hospital and prison visitation, NTSA and Port services among others.

He said that people will have to show proof of vaccination for admission into public places including National parks and game reserves, hotels, bars and restaurants.

All businesses serving 50 or more people a day put up signage requiring proof of vaccination before entering the premises and patrons to be fully vaccinated.

All indoor gatherings are to be limited to two-thirds capacity with proof of Covid-19 vaccination of all in attendance.

In the new measures, tourists and travellers from European countries must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of it before entering the country.

“We have communicated to the Kenya Human Rights and other organizations. Your right not to be vaccinated does not mean that you become a threat to those who wish to be vaccinated, I think that should be made very clear,” Kagwe said.

The ministry has warned that airlines will be responsible for any passenger who arrives into the country without being fully vaccinated once the deadline lapses.

All inbound travellers into the country will be required to have a negative Covid-19 PCR taken 96 hours before arrival into the country.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris