Kenyan court suspends directive banning unvaccinated from accessing government services

Kenya’s High Court has suspended a government order that required anyone accessing public services and places to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 21.

Kenya High Court Judge Antony Mrima has suspended a government directive that would have denied services to unvaccinated people from next week.

A petition challenging the rule was filed last week by businessman Enock Aura, who argued the directive was illegal.

Human rights group Human Rights Watch has called on the Kenyan government to change the directive and avoid directives that undermine the rights of the people.

Adi Radhakrishnan is Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. He said the directive would prevent millions of people from accessing essential services.

“This requirement risks violating the right to work, the right to health, education and social security for millions of people. Immunization coverage depends on availability and accessibility and the new measures initially announced could prevent millions of Kenyans from accessing such government services like going to hospital in person, going to university, going to an immigration office for their identity card,” he said. noted.

Like most African countries, Kenya has seen fewer people coming for COVID-19 vaccine doses in recent weeks.

In Kenya, 3.2 million people are fully immunized and 5.3 million people have at least one dose.

FILE – A health official prepares the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in Nairobi, Kenya September 17, 2021.

Radhakrishnan said health protocols should be followed and people’s beliefs should be considered on vaccination coverage.

“While requiring proof of vaccination can be a powerful incentive to get vaccinated, how this is done must take into account the many reasons why a person may not be able to receive the vaccine in time. . These may be social, political and/or economic barriers. Any vaccine requirements must be implemented with a broader public health strategy that emphasizes accessibility of vaccines and other preventive measures against COVID-19.

With a population of 50 million, Kenya has received 8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The East African nation has recorded 256,000 coronavirus positive cases and 5,350 deaths.

Ashley C. Reynolds