COVID has had devastating effects on livelihoods and the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms in Kenya, just like the rest of the globe. The effects of COVID 19 risk pushing people deeper into poverty, mental health and depression. It has affected our education system, and any further disruption would adversely affect the development of Kenyans.
In July, the government of Kenya unveiled their vaccination plan, which targets to vaccinate 30% of the adult population by 2023. A largely conservative target given the effects of the threat and impact of COVID. However, it’s worth noting that the vaccine programme is competing with other national interests, including constitutional reforms, development legacy, and elections. However, the public feel and global outlook indicate that vaccination is a crucial step to recovering all from COVID because no one is safe until everyone is safe.
So far, the government has procured one million doses. To reach the required target of the entire adult population, the government would need to acquire at least fifty million doses to avail two doses for twenty five million Kenyans of adult age ( estimate based on the projected population growth based on the KNBS). Definitely very ambitious for a country where even access to the second dose of the already vaccinated population is in doubt.
We call on the government to continue ensuring that COVID 19 vaccination is public-facing and driven. We urge the government to prioritize vaccination within a year and urgently make provision for the acquisition and distribution of COVID 19 vaccines to all adults in Kenya. The COVID 19 vaccine should be available at no cost to the public, accessible, affordable, and of good quality for all persons, free from discrimination. We must not allow life-saving treatment to be commercialized.
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