The decision was announced in a document circulated and made public this week by Kenya’s head of public service, Joseph Kinyua. The government official argued that the move was necessary, as civil servants “have deliberately avoided getting vaccinated so that they can stay away from work under the guise of working from home.”
With the country’s access to Covid vaccines “having greatly improved,” Kinyua said the government wants to improve the uptake figures among public servants, specifically security officials, teachers and civil servants.
The government has set a deadline of August 23 for civil servants to have received a first Covid vaccine dose at least, with those who refuse being “treated as discipline cases” and “appropriate action taken against them.” Kinyua did not specify what punishment could be taken against those who still aren’t vaccinated by the deadline.
Kenyan officials previously set a goal of vaccinating at least 26 million people by the end of 2021. So far, only 1.8 million doses of a Covid vaccine have been administered since the country began its inoculation program.
The decision to issue the order to civil servants comes ahead of a debate in Kenya’s parliament on Thursday, where MPs are set to consider introducing vaccine passports, limiting access to public and private spaces to those who are fully inoculated or have recently tested negative for the virus. Currently, a curfew has been imposed across Kenya and public gatherings have been banned amid concerns medical facilities could otherwise become overwhelmed by Covid cases.