Kenya will require all government employees to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before 23 August or face disciplinary action, according to the head of the East African country’s public service, Joseph Kinyua.
According to a letter, varified by Bloomberg, sent by Kinyua to senior state officials, some staff members have been opting to not receive the jab so that they can continue working from home, which is hurting the government’s service delivery efforts. He says that there has been a low uptake by security officers and teachers in particular.
Kinyua says that all public servants are being prioritised to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during the ongoing inoculation exercises. President Uhuru Kenyatta was amongst the first to be vaccinated in the country when the initial consignment of AstraZeneca jabs was shipped in.
“Vaccination is voluntary – why are civil servants the only ones being punished?” asked Tom Odege, secretary-general of the Kenya Union of Civil Servants, a union that received the letter as well, according to News24.
“The government should instead encourage civil servants to get vaccinated,” he said.
Kenya’s Vaccine Rollout
By 9 August, a total of 1,804,375 vaccines have been administered across Kenya – among them, only 698,905 people have completed and received both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Last week Friday, the country received an additional 182,000 doses of the AZ vaccine from the Greek government, raising the number of vaccines receives by Kenya to 2,323,100.
The country has also ordered 13-million single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines, set to arrive sometime this month.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the government expects more vaccine doses to boost the ongoing vaccination campaign. The campaign has a lofty goal to achieve, targeting 10 million people by December 2021. Kenyatta vows to have the entire adult population vaccinated by the end of next year.
Kenya’s health authorities have so far recorded 213,756 infections and 4,211 deaths.