Kenya's vaccine requirements infringe on human rights - lobby warns

No Vaccination, No services’

TOPSHOT - A medical health worker injects the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to a woman as they visit door-to-door to deliver the vaccines to people who live far from health facilities in Siaya, Kenya, on May 18, 2021. (Photo by BRIAN ONGORO/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Human Rights Watch, the Ministry of Health decision to set December 21 as the deadline for all Kenyans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a violation of human rights.

"Given that approximately 10 percent of adults in Kenya had been vaccinated by the end of November, based on Health Ministry figures, the requirement risks violating the rights to work, health, education, and social security for millions of Kenyans," stated International Non-Governmental Organization, Human Rights Watch.

On Sunday November 21, Kagwe said from December 21, all Kenyans will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before they are allowed into hotels, bars and restaurants or access to in-person to government services.

The services affected will include public transportation, education, immigration, hospitals, and prison visitation.

“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 Human Rights Watch.

“Vaccination coverage hinges on availability and accessibility, and the government’s new measures could leave millions of Kenyans unable to get essential government services.”

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. However, Health Ministry data indicates that there is a limited supply.

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 since the start of the vaccination program.

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