Kenya to Roll Out Pfizer Vaccines for Teenagers Beginning November 23

A nurse prepares to administer a Covid-19 vaccine to a patient at the Milimani Law Courts Nairobi (file photo).
21 November 2021

Nairobi — Teenagers aged 15 to 18 years old in the country, are set to be vaccinated against COVID-19 from Tuesday, November 23.

The roll out of vaccination for person aged under 18 is in line with the approval of Pfizer, by the World Health Organization (WHO), for use on children aged 12 and above.

Speaking during a press conference on Sunday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe noted that Pfizer is the only vaccine approved by WHO for the younger population.

"In view of emergency use authorization by Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) and following the World Health Organization recommendation, I direct that we open vaccination of young people with Pfizer from Tuesday, 23rd November lowering the applicable age to 15 years and above. The estimated population of this group is approximately 5.7 million," Kagwe said.

The CS further announced that the Ministry will at the same time launch an accelerated 10-day vaccination exercise to ensure that majority of the public get vaccinated saying the target to vaccinate 10 million people by the end of December still stands.

"The older you are the more concerned and the more emphasis we lay on you to be vaccinated. The 15-year-olds are allowed to be vaccinated because they can be carriers too. So as we kick off the accelerated exercise I appeal to all Kenyans and especially the elderly to turn out in large numbers and be vaccinated," Kagwe urged.

At the same time, CS Kagwe announced a radical plan aimed at supporting the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with the government warning it will withhold key services from Kenyans who fail to take vaccines. Unvaccinated people will also be locked out of public transport and hotel facilities.

Pilots, drivers and all passengers will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to board any mode of transport.

Kagwe said those who fail to take vaccines by December 21 will be denied access to key services including those offered by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

"Everybody seeking in person government services should be fully vaccinated and proof of vaccination availed by December 21, 2021. Such services will include but not limited to, KRA services, Education, immigration services, hospital and prison visitation, NTSA and port services among others.

Kagwe pointed out that some of the directives are derived from the Public Health Act especially during a pandemic.

The CS said the move is aimed at protecting government workers and service providers in other sectors insisting "those who have been vaccinated will not risk their lives serving those who have refused to be vaccinated".

"Nobody is saying that it is mandatory to be vaccinated but if you want to come to my office for services and everyone there is vaccinated and you are not, that is unfair. The law is clear and it is on our side. The courts cannot force somebody who is vaccinated, to entertain someone who is not vaccinated," Kagwe said.

"The key reason why all of us need to be vaccinated is to ensure that we keep the economy going and make sure we do not back to hospitalization and people suffering at home," he added.

Balala also announced that unvaccinated persons will be denied access to hospitality facilities warning that those who will contravene the directive will be held personally liable.

"All national parks and protected areas will need to demand for the same from 21 of December. What we want is to control the spread of infections because it is going to be a festive season and we will celebrate and enjoy but we need to do that while we are safe," Balala said.

As at Sunday 6.4 million people had been vaccinated with 2.4 million people having been fully vaccinated.

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