A group of Kenyan and foreign companies welcomed on Monday a government edict that residents from December 21 must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access services, saying this would boost very low vaccine take-up in the country.
Rights group Amnesty International criticised the move, saying Kenya would not be able to vaccinate the majority of its population in just four weeks and so many people might be unable to earn a living, access transport or go to school.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe made the announcement on Sunday. Public services affected include schools, transport services, immigration and other state offices, and hotels, bars, restaurants, national parks and wildlife reserves.
Carol Kariuki, Chief Executive of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), an umbrella body that claims over half a million members, told Reuters group encouraged all Kenyans to get inoculated.
“This is not only good for business continuity and the economy but also to protect others,” she said. Official figures show 8.8% of people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the East African country so far.
Irungu Houghton, executive director of Amnesty International’s Kenya office, said the government directive was unrealistic.
“These regulations will deprive millions of people of their ability to earn a livelihood, to have access to security, health and transportation services back and forth from home to work or school,” he told Reuters.