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Kenya restricts access for unvaccinated to increase inoculations before year-end

Kenya will require people seeking government services to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus from Dec. 21 as authorities move to increase inoculation before the year-end holiday season.

The government will restrict in-person services at the revenue, transport, ports, immigration and education agencies, Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said. The state will also limit access to hospitals, prisons, game parks as well as hotels, bars, restaurants and businesses that attend to 50 people or more in a day, Kagwe said in a statement.

President Uhuru Kenyatta wants at least 10 million people in the nation of about 53 million to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before the end of the year — as part of plans to support the recovery of East Africa’s largest economy. So far, only about 6.4 million vaccinations have been administered, with about 2.4 people fully inoculated.

Kenya’s virus cases have dropped, with the positivity rate ranging from 0.8 percent to 2.6 percent over the past two weeks. The government is, however, wary of new spikes over the Christmas season next month and as political gatherings increase ahead of next year’s general elections.

“The current decline in the number of new infections may be attributed to a buildup of immunity both through natural exposure to the disease and the ongoing vaccination exercise,” Kagwe said.

“Nonetheless, we know that it’s not yet time for us to celebrate.”

A 10-day mass vaccination campaign will be rolled out from Nov. 26 to boost the number of inoculated people. Kenya’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board has also given emergency authorization for the use of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccines on teenagers.

Kenya has reported a total of 254,629 COVID-19 cases and 5,325 deaths since March 2020.

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