Vaccinated people gradually resume normal lives in Kenya

People visit Mbagathi County Hospital for COVID-19 vaccination in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, March 22, 2021. (Xinhua/Allan Mutiso)

Having received her second dose of the vaccine over a week ago, Victoria Selima feels safer and freer in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, despite the COVID-19 pandemic remaining a threat in the east African nation.

“I don’t fear eating out, going shopping or to religious services anymore, though I am still masking up and taking other precautions,” said Selima, a government auditor, on Wednesday.

When the pandemic struck the country in March 2020, Selima, like thousands of other workers, was asked to work from home. It’s about two months now since she returned to work from the office, together with other workers, after getting her first vaccine.

Selima is among some 2.15 million Kenyans who are resuming normal lives after receiving their COVID-19 jabs.

The Kenyans, 760,920 who are fully vaccinated, are slowly putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind them as Kenya races to vaccinate over half of its 50 million people by the end of 2022, according to the Ministry of Health.

“I feel like the vaccine has unlocked my life. No more fear,” said journalist John Njuguna who is also fully vaccinated. His employer organized for all the workers to be vaccinated.

Most organizations, including government agencies, have made vaccination compulsory in a bid to resume normal activities. Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua announced recently that those who would not take the jabs would be liable for disciplinary action. The approach has been taken by all government agencies and dozens of private firms, with bosses issuing deadlines for staff to get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is compulsory. Your name and vaccine number would be recorded for those taking both first and second jabs,” one chief executive informed workers on Wednesday as he announced in a memo that the last jabs would be administered at the institution on August 26.

Some private firms with regional offices across Kenya are ferrying the vaccines closer to their workers as the bid to normalize operations gathers momentum.

Event organizers are also picking cue as they seek to normalize their activities amid a rise in the number of people who have been vaccinated. Some of them are now admitting only vaccinated people at their events.

Chief among them are governors who are organizing a meeting on devolution to be held between August 23 and 26 where only 1,000 vaccinated delegates would be allowed to attend. It is the first national function to bar unvaccinated people in the east Africa nation.

Kenya has so far vaccinated 2.15 million people, some 760,920 fully as of Tuesday while infection cases stood at 224,400. Enditem

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