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Kenya's Government Threatens To Ban Those Not Vaxxed By December From Public Settings

The government's push to increase inoculation by December 21 seems severely ambitious as currently, less than 10% of the population are fully vaccinated.

Kenya's Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced Sunday that those not vaccinated — or able to show proof of vaccination — by December 21 will not be given access to various public and government settings. The list of banned in-person services includes hospitals, prisons, education agencies, bars, restaurants, and hotels. Kagwe and her department are also limiting access to game parks, and businesses that attend to 50 people or more a day. The statement released mentioned that the ministry and county governments would host a "ten-day mass vaccination exercise from November 26th with the aim of administering adequate vaccines to as many people as possible." Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta hopes for at least 10 million out of the 53 million-strong population to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of the year — in an attempt to ensure the recovery of East Africa's largest economy.

The vaccine mandate has been praised by some and challenged by others. Only 8.8% (2.4 million) of the East African country are fully vaccinated. The goal is to vaccinate over 20 million Kenyans in three weeks, and only 6.4 million Kenyans have received at least their first shot, as of November 22nd.

Mr. Kagwe noted that Kenyan's have seen a decline in COVID-19 cases over the last two months, and that "the current decline in the number of new infections may be attributed to a build-up of immunity both through natural exposure to the disease, and the ongoing vaccination exercise." Adding, however, that "it's not yet time to celebrate. We know that during the festive periods many of the known measures against the virus, such as social distancing, can easily get overlooked as people make merry."

Kenyans took to social media to express their support, anger, and disbelief in the government's mass inoculation project, many claiming that the recent visit from the US Secretary Anthony Blinken may have influenced the Kenyan government to make haste in getting their citizens vaccinated. Others claim blatant corruption.

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