The Government of Kenya has ordered all civil servants to be vaccinated in two weeks or risk disciplinary action after only a few voluntarily went for the jab against Covid-19.
Head of the Public Service Joseph Kinyua said some State officers have deliberately avoided getting vaccinated so that they can stay at home, negatively affected service delivery.
“In our recent meeting, it was reported that there was a low uptake of Covid-19 vaccines among public servants,” Mr Kinyua said in a statement.
“It has, therefore, been decided that all civil servants will be prioritised in the ongoing vaccination and that those who will not have been given the first jab by August 23, 2021, be treated as discipline cases and appropriate action taken against them,” he added.
Mr Kinyua directed principal secretaries and accounting officers to ensure the directive is adhered to.
Explaining why it is important for people to get vaccinated, Dr Patrick Amoth, the Health director general, said while immunisation was voluntary, the unvaccinated put others at risk, especially those whose immune systems are too weak to respond to the vaccine.
“Vaccine hesitancy is responsible for the rise of cases in the country. If we can all get vaccinated, the number of people who severely get ill will reduce and even the hospitals will have space for other Kenyans,” Dr Amoth said.
Only two per cent of Kenyans have been fully vaccinated so far. Almost 2 million Kenyans had received the first dose of the vaccine as of yesterday. Of this number, about 600, 000 have shown up for their second doses.
The country has a target of 26 million vaccinated people by the end of next year.
Latest data from the Health ministry shows that older people aged 58 and above and health care workers who received the initial dose have taken up the booster shot with the same energy. The uptake of the two groups is about 66 per cent for each.
Security officers are also doing well in vaccine uptake.
More than half of the teachers who received the first dose have not gone for their second jab appointments – a worrying trend amid a variant that affects children, whom they interact with on a daily basis.
Nairobi had a population of 7.4 per cent fully immunised, Nyeri (5.6 per cent), Uasin Gishu (4.3 per cent) and Laikipia (3.8 per cent).
Garissa, Marsabit and Tana River have all registered 0.3 per cent fully vaccinated residents.
Dr Willis Akhwale, the Covid-19 vaccine task force chairman said vaccine resistance among Kenyans has been high. Accessibility of vaccines has also been a big challenge.
“Vaccines were not widely available, and out of the 600 available accredited facilities, we were only using 200. But since we have enough doses, we are opening it up to Kenyans who need the first dose,” he said.