Mercy Mwangangi

Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Health Dr Mercy Mwangangi giving updates on the status of Covid-19 in the Country.

| Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Unvaccinated? No public services, events or travel

What you need to know:

  • Proof of admission will be a requirement for admission to all organised events, all government and parastatal offices.
  • The ministry says it has appointed officers who will be stationed at various outlets to oversee implementation of the directive.

From Thursday (December 23, 2021), you risk being barred from accessing government services and public spaces if you are not vaccinated against Covid-19, the Health ministry has said.

To access social joints, organised events, parastatal, and government offices, the ministry has directed, you have to show a Covid-19 vaccination certificate as the government rushes to meet its target of vaccinating 10 million before the end of year.

The same rule will apply in hotels, pubs, bars, lounges, casinos, game parks, supermarkets and markets. Failure to take the jab may also keep you immobile as domestic flights, matatus, buses, boda bodas, trains, and taxis will require the certificate.

To ensure compliance, the ministry said it had appointed officers who will be stationed at various outlets to oversee implementation of the directive.

“The Ministry of Health, together with all the different designated officers from different institutions are expected to ensure that these measures are adhered to,” Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwagangi said.

Some hotels like ParkInn by Radisson said they had already made it a requirement for patrons to show proof of vaccination: “We already had initiated the MoH protocols. The only addition is implementing it,” said Marketing Manager Mercy Njiru.

With an exemption of children below the age of 15, everyone else will have to show evidence of vaccination, either in hard copy or digital formats. Exemptions will also only apply to persons issued with a letter from licensed medical practitioners stating the reason for exemption.

Vaccination certificates

The vaccination certificates are however not to be retained within the premises as “they are solely for the purpose of evidence of vaccination,” according to Dr Mwangangi.

Every facility or event organiser will be required to nominate a person who will be tasked with verifying vaccination certificates at all access points.

In addition, all workers and service providers within these institutions “must have undergone Covid-19 vaccination and must access Covid-19 certificates”. 

While vaccination is not mandatory, Dr Mwangangi said, “if you want to enjoy the privilege of interacting with the rest of the community, then you have to get vaccinated.”

A growing number of countries around the world have been accused of infringing on their citizens’ rights by pushing compulsory vaccination against Covid-19.

Besides health workers and other high-risk groups, a growing number of countries are also making shots compulsory for public servants and other workers. Such policies have been praised too, as a vital measure to tackle vaccine hesitancy and boost public immunity as the pandemic rages on. With infection rates rising across Europe and many other regions, countries with higher vaccination rates “have the best shot at survival,” said Director-General of Health Patrick Amoth.

“We have 15 patients under critical care across the country out of who 10 are not vaccinated,” said Dr Amoth.

Fully vaccinated

By Tuesday, 9.2 million Kenyans had been vaccinated, pushing the proportion of adults fully vaccinated to 13.4 per cent. Of these, 13,845 aged between 15-18 years have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Kenya has received 23 million doses of the Covid-19 jabs.

About 3,328 people tested positive for Covid-19 from a sample size of 11,197 in the last 24 hours, pushing the country’s positivity rate to 29.7 per cent.

The new mandate by MoH comes a week after a High Court decision to suspend the directive following a petition lodged by businessman Enock Aura.

Justice Antony Mrima on Wednesday said the directive by Mr Kagwe should not be enforced pending conclusion of the case. Through the Public Health Act Chapter 242 (PHA), the state enjoys considerable legal latitude to impose various forms of restrictions during public health crises.

For instance, the constitution authorises the Head of State to declare a state of emergency and put in place wide-ranging public security preservation measures, including restrictions on movement and assembly, appropriation of private property and labour, and restrictions on entry into the country.

According to Article 58, a state of emergency may be declared only when the state is threatened by war, invasion, general insurrection, disorder, natural disaster, or other public emergencies.

The constitution also gives the Supreme Court the powers to decide on the validity of a declaration of a state of emergency and its extension.

Similarly, the Public Health Act allows the authorities to take various actions during public health crises and taking the necessary measures to fight the disease.

Specific powers accorded to health authorities include search, seizure, and detention powers; the power to designate any place as a quarantine area, including ships and aircraft; and the power to restrict or ban immigration into the country.

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