As predicted, the decision by the Ministry of Health, Mutahi Kagwe, to increase the number of vaccinations among the population has led to numerous complaints within the country. In particular, a petition, filed by entrepreneur Enock Aura, who considered the ordinance unconstitutional and discriminatory, was collected by Judge Anthony Mirima of the High Court of Kenya, who decided to suspend the ordinance until 4 January 2022, when a hearing will be convened to resolve the matter.
The directive was due to come into force on Tuesday 21 December and would have barred unvaccinated people from accessing many government services, such as transport, school or visits to hospitals and prisons, and all public transport drivers had to be vaccinated. In addition, in the wake of the government’s stance, some private services, such as hotels and shopping centres, also announced that they would prevent access to those without vaccination certificates.
The main complaint was that Kenya has a limited number of vaccinated people (8 million vaccinated with the first dose and only 3 million with the second dose), which could have led to a paralysis of the country. In the health ministry’s intentions, the aim was to reach 10 million vaccinations by the end of the year. But according to Mirima, it is not possible to prohibit the inhabitants from moving freely around the country or to prevent the use of services that are financed by the community itself through the payment of taxes.
In the meantime, the country is organising itself to cope with a new epidemic wave, the fifth, due to the global spread of omicron variant. With this in mind, some experts working with the Ministry of Health are urging the population to proceed with the third dose, the appeal being aimed mainly at those most at risk in this new wave, such as the elderly and frail persons.