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Activists raise grave concerns over Covid-19 vaccine

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[Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid during press briefing. Photo/Bakari Ali].

Coast based human rights organisations have raised various concerns over the Covid-19 vaccine that arrived in the country on Tuesday night.

The organisations among them Haki Africa, Sisters for Justice, Haki na Usawa, and  Institute for Land Governance and Human Rights said most of the public concerns are yet to be addressed concerning the vaccine.

Led by Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid the activists said the public is still in the dark about the vaccine.

Addressing journalists at the Haki Africa offices in Mombasa on Tuesday, the human rights defenders demanded adequate information from the government to the public so that citizens understand the credibility and importance of the vaccine.

Unanswered questions

“The vaccine is already in the country but who among Kenyans knows about it? How will it be administered? To whom will it be administered? Why leave out the most vulnerable among them the elderly?” posed Mr. Khalid.

He said that the 200 shillings charge per vaccine is expensive to most of Kenyans.

“200 shillings may seem to be very little to some but to many Kenyans that is what some families struggle to get and put food on the table,” noted the human rights defender.

He said the vaccine should be given to Kenyans for free.

Corruption

Mr. Khalid cautioned the Health ministry against leaving the exercise to corrupt people who may end up selling the vaccine at the expense of Kenyans health.

His sentiments were backed up by Sisters for Justice Execute Director Naillah Abdalla who said the government has failed to give clear guidelines on pregnant women and children on the vaccine.

“If we say pregnant women and children are exempted from the vaccine then how will we protect them from Covid-19?” she said.

Meanwhile, Mombasa residents led by human rights activist Mesaidi Omar have questioned the 200 shillings charges for the vaccine.

Ms Omar noted that Kenyans are already heavily taxed and paying 200 shillings to access the Covid-19 vaccine will be almost impossible.

The country received its first batch of 1 million Astrazeneca vaccines last night.

The government however said no Kenyan will be forced to take the vaccination.