The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has issued a statement asking its members to visit Covid vaccination centres to get a jab.
According to Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu taking a vaccine is the only sure way for safety of its members.
“This is the only sure way to ensure our safety and that of our members we shall be serving. Kindly approach your local Medical Facilities and organize for the same,” said Oyuu in a circular dated 23/8/2021 addressed to all Knut Branch Secretaries.
Oyuu is mobilizing teachers countrywide to get a Covid vaccine in line with the Ministry of Health directive and that of Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
However on contrary the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have opposed to what they termed ‘forced vaccination’ exercise for teachers.
Kuppet in a statement said TSC together with Ministry of Health should organize and launch a sensitization program for teachers on the benefits of receiving vaccination.
In a statement to newsroom Kuppet Busia Executive Secretary said Covid vaccination should be voluntary and opposed attempts to coerce members to take part.
“Forced vaccinationand imposing economic or salary sanctions is breach of the patients rights as contained in the Kenya National Patients Rights Charter (2013),” said Okisai Moffats, Busia Kuppet Secretary.
Among the remedies proposed by Kuppet to mitigate a looming standoff between teachers and their employer include;
1) Health workers to organize school visits on vaccine sensitization and adminstration
2) The seven day ultimatum issued to be extended to three months
3) Threats to be replaced with incentives
4) Vaccination to be voluntary and not compulsory
5) Free distribution of masks to schools
However TSC has stepped up its effort in making sure teachers are vaccination.
In a memo to all TSC Directors, Mr Ibrahim Mumin, who the TSC Director incharge of Administrative Services has ordered immediate submission of lists of all its employees who are yet to be vaccinated.
“Employees are encouraged to take the vaccine to effectively reduce the severity of the disease in case of infection and also mitigate the loss of life. As Supervisors you are reguired to keep a record of those who have been vaccinated
to this end you are requested to submit a list of all employees who are yet to receive the vaccine through email firstname.lastname@example.org on Tuesday 24th August 2021 by 5:00 pm,” said Mumin in a memo dated 23/8/2021.
Unvaccinated public workers face salary stoppage among other disciplinary actions the latest report shows.
While writing to public servants warning of dire consequences Mary Kimonye who is Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender said Salary stoppage, denial of access to offices and withdrawal of benefits and allowances are some of disciplinary measures facing the unvaccinated servants.
“…all officers are directed to ensure they are vaccinated in the ongoing vaccination exercise failure to which disciplinary action not limited to the following will be taken as per the directive from head of the Public Service; Denial of access to offices, Stoppage of salary and Withdrawal of benefits/allowances,’ said Kimonye in a memo.
Kimonye said all staff should ensure they have received their first jab by 23rd August 2021.
TSC gave school heads till 24th August to submit details of teachers who have taken Covid-19 vaccine.
TSC reminded teachers to get Covid jab by today before the deadline lapse.
“The Commission is pleased to note that there has been a remarkable improvement in the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine among teachers. Thank you for heeding the call ‘Beat Covid-19 by getting a jab’. Teachers who are yet to be vaccinated are encouraged to take advantage of the ongoing step up campaign for vaccination. Get vaccinated before the lapse of today’s deadline,” said TSC in a statement today.
TSC has also ordered for data of all its officers working in various counties that have taken the vaccine.
“You are required to coordinate teachers and officers under your respective jurisdiction to get vaccinated. Provide data on those vaccinated using the attached template,” read a memo by Trans Nzoia County Director addressed to Sub County Directors.
This comes shortly after TSC ordered teachers to get a Covid-19 jab latest 23rd August 2021 or face unspecified disciplinary action.
Last week a consignment of 407,000 Covid-19 vaccines landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
While receiving the donation, Acting Director-General of health Dr. Patrick Amoth said the latest consignment will boost the ongoing vaccination drive even as he thanked the UK government, WHO, UNICEF and partners who are helping in the vaccine deployment plan.
“The Ministry of Health has now received a total of 817,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine as a contribution of the British government in Kenya’s fight against Covid-19,” said Amoth.
UNICEF Kenya also confirmed the arrival of the consignment which will mitigate the effects of the deadly Coronavirus.
“Over 400,000 life-saving #COVID19 vaccine doses arrived safely in Kenya this evening. The vaccines were donated by the UK Government via the #COVAX facility and transported by UNICEF Kenya. Asante UK in Kenya,” said UNICEF Kenya.
The vaccines, donated by the UK government, are expected to boost the ongoing vaccination campaign that has seen 2,101,403 people receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Amoth said the country is expecting to receive 1.7 million doses of Moderna soon, 393,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in the next few weeks and 1.8 million doses of Pfizer vaccine in September this year.
Speaking during the event, UK deputy High Commissioner to Kenya Julius Court said the donation was a testament to the cordial relations between Kenya and the United Kingdom.
“I’m delighted that the second shipment of our total donation of 817,000 COVID-19 vaccines has arrived in Kenya. We need to keep working together to protect ourselves and our families, and the best way to do that is the vaccine,” observed Court.
UNICEF Kenya’s Chief of Health Dr. Yaron Wolman said the vaccines will help boost the country’s vaccination efforts at a time it is battling a surge in infections.
“No one is safe until everyone is safe, especially with new and more infectious variants of the virus emerging. Vaccine equity is essential to ensure that everyone at risk from Covid-19 gets vaccinated wherever they are,” Said Wolman.
The UK government had donated another 410,000 doses to Kenya on 31st July this year following President Kenyatta’s recent tour of the United Kingdom.
The latest consignment has raised the number of vaccines received in the country to 2,730,100 with at least 754,542 people having received their second doses by close of the day Tuesday. The proportion of adults fully vaccinated now stands at 2.8 percent.
The first vaccination began on 5th March 2021 with county vaccinations kicking off on 8th of March 2021. The second dose vaccination began on 28th May 2021. The government is conducting the vaccination free of charge and is aiming to vaccinate at least 10 million adults by the end of the year.
The roll out of the national vaccination campaign is being led by the Ministry of Health, with support from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and other partners.
This latest development assures teachers of getting Covid-19 vaccine that will help reduce the risk of contracting the disease that kills by suffocation.
TSC released a report that showed only 178,734 teachers have been vaccinated since the exercise was launched.
TSC report also says 110,342 teachers have received full dose and that it targets to vaccinate all 330,671 teachers on TSC payroll.
In a circular directed to all school heads TSC CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia says it is imperative for teachers to get vaccinated as per the government circular Ref. No. OP/CAB.1/12A dated 5th August 2021.
Nancy Macharia says there is an upsurge of positivity rate and increasing numbers of Covid-19 infections across the country that necessitates immediate response to curb the increasing numbers.
According to the circular by Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua, there have been low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among public servants especially the security sector, teachers and the core civil service.
Kinyua said the low uptake of Covid vaccine is a deliberate move by a section of workers so that they can stay away from work under the guise of working from home.
Following the claims government has escalated its Covid-19 vaccination exercise among government workers.
According to Kinyua all government workers will be given first priority to get a Covid jab by 23rd August.
“It has therefore been decided that all civil servants will be priotized in the ongoing vaccination exercise and that those who will not have been given the 1st jab by 23rd August, 2021 be treated as discipline cases and appropriate action taken against them. Principal Secretaries/Accounting Officers are hereby instructed to ensure full implementation of this decision,” said Kinyua in a statement addressed to all PS’s.
Teachers have been urged to go for Covid-19 vaccines following fears that schools may be susceptible to the virus.
TSC OFFICIAL CIRCULAR TO ALL SCHOOL HEADS
COVID-19 CONTAINMENT MEASURES
Following the upsurge currently being witnessed in the positivity rate and increasing numbers of Covid-19 infections across the country, it is imperative that you mop up teachers and officers under your respective jurisdiction to get vaccinated as per the government directive vide circular Ref. No. OP/CAB.1/12A dated 5th August 2021. (Attached for your attention)
You are further directed to bring to the attention of all officers and teachers the contents of the attached circular.
DR. NANCY NJERI MACHARIA