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POSITION STATEMENT - 26.11.2021

People's Vaccine KE

The People’s Vaccine Kenya position on the updated COVID-19 response measure invoking the execution of a coercive vaccine mandate.

 

The People’s Vaccine Kenya (PV-K) strongly urges the Ministry of Health and the Government of Kenya as a whole to immediately rescind the latest proclamation by cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe on 21 November 2021.

 

The People’s Vaccine Kenya (PV-K) campaign is a nationwide movement united under the common aim of campaigning for the free distribution and unconditional access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In as much as we support the immediate and mass vaccination of the Kenyan population, we condemn the restrictive and coercive measures to enhance vaccination. We champion urgent, equitable and unconditional access to the vaccine.

 

As at 21 st November 2021, the vaccination statistics in Kenya were as follows:

 

Total vaccinations administered in Kenya

6,388,427

Total fully vaccinated people in Kenya

2,401,926

Total single doses administered

3,986,501

 

 

The national vaccination percentage stands at 8.8% of the total population. Vaccination programs per country differ especially in terms of policy and vaccination programs, it is important for the national government to realize that these policies are NOT a one size fits all solution. The threat to restrict access to government facilities and amenities for unvaccinated people – in a country that has not met a vaccination target of at least half its population – is a fallacious and irrational attempt to sustain the pandemic.

 

The chances of accessing the vaccine in Kenya in 2021 remains largely dependent on access to internet, valid identification documents (such as an identification card or a passport) and finally access to a hospital that can hold the highly perishable vaccines. In counties such as Marsabit, Wajir and Garissa less than 2.5% 2 of the total populations have been vaccinated. This inequitable distribution of vaccines is the result of lack of education on the vaccine, nationwide awareness campaigns and misinformed policy execution that will only further the inequality gap in the country and influence anti-vaccine misinformation campaigns.

 

As is, the government in its totality, the Health Cabinet in collaboration with private and public healthcare facilities and vaccination centres have forced Kenyans into accessing the vaccine by insisting on large sets of personal identifiable information with no consent to opt out. As is, neither the Health Cabinet nor the Data Protection Commissioner have guided us on the protection, storage and risks involved in handling the mass data.

 

The Kenyan government has also failed to propose alternatives for stateless persons without proper identification documents to access the vaccines.

 

Due to historic and on-going failures of non-democratic, state policy especially with regards to the recent court proceedings and public concern during the Huduma Number/ National Integrated Identity Management System debacle, it is important for government accountability and transparency in handling citizen data.

 

We are the opinion that the mandatory ‘proof of vaccination’ stipulated by the Health Cabinet and larger national government may lead to increased exclusion and conflict as the government has not stipulated what exactly this requirement should be.

 

The solution to increasing vaccine access in the country can be effectively done through:

  1. Engaging in a nationwide awareness campaign, educating Kenyans on the vaccine and its importance. This will help combat vaccine hesitancy – that is enabled through misinformation and disinformation campaigns – by providing accurate, justifiable and legitimate information concerning the vaccines and vaccination programs in the country.
  2. Developing a decentralized framework for vaccine accessibility, the Ministry of Health must partner with grassroots initiatives and organizations to ensure that the vaccine is accessible in urban-informal settlements and hard to reach areas within the country.
  3. Easing restrictions in accessing the vaccine, such as the mass data needed at the vaccination centres and through the chanjo.go.ke platform and providing alternative methods of accessing the vaccine for stateless people and those without identification documents.

 

Only through collaborative efforts between the government and the citizenry can we yield solid outcomes for all.

 

In agreement,
The People’s Vaccine Kenya Campaign.

 

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