The Ministry of Health insists that COVID-19 vaccination remains voluntary despite an earlier directive that only those who are fully vaccinated will receive access to public services.

This comes after Kenya received 4.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the governments of Argentina and Germany that is set to boost the country’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The December 21 deadline is fast approaching, a date when the ministry is set to make true its claims of denying persons not fully vaccinated any access to public services.

“Let us not do the usual thing of waiting until the last minute to start rushing for the vaccine, we set that deadline a long time ago to say that if you want to get on a train, to go to a restaurant, a government office or get onto a plane, you have to be vaccinated,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

According to CS Kagwe, the ministry’s decision does not in any way indicate that vaccination is mandatory.

“We are not forcing any Kenyan to be vaccinated, it is not mandatory. If you dont want to be vaccinated that’s fine with us, so you will be free to operate in a manner that you can, we are sure you will be creative about it, but we cannot risk other Kenyans because 1 or 2 people do not want be vaccinated,” he said.

Annet Gunther, German Ambassador to Kenya, said: “No one is safe until everyone is safe, that is why we regard it as our responsibility to contribute and help our partners worldwide.”

“In the course of the week we shall be receiving 1.2 million doses of Johnson and Johnson from the United States of America,” added CS Kagwe.

Only 11% of Kenya’s population has been fully vaccinated, a representation of just 3 million people. Another 4.6 million have been partially vaccinated.

On Wednesday, faith leaders are expected to launch the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign where they will commit to allow the Ministry of Health to use places of worship as venues of vaccination.

With the new consignment coupled up with a vaccination rate of at least 100,000 people a day, Kenya hopes to vaccinate 10 million adults by the end of December.

Kenya however remains on high alert following confirmation by the Uganda virus research institute that seven cases of the Omicron variant were detected in the country.

By Citizen Digital