Kenyan court dismisses petition challenging mandatory vaccination requirement for public officers

A sign at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre restricting access to Kenyans who have been vaccinated on Christmas Day. /SOPA Images/Sipa USA via CFP
A sign at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre restricting access to Kenyans who have been vaccinated on Christmas Day. /SOPA Images/Sipa USA via CFP

A Kenyan court has recently dismissed a petition challenging the mandatory vaccination requirement for public officers.

The Kenyan government issued the directive in August 2021 and threatened disciplinary action to all civil servants who failed to comply.

The directive was however challenged in court, as petitioners argued that it was an infringement on their rights by subjecting them to medical experimentation as the vaccines were clouded with reservations.

But in his ruling on the matter, Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge James Rikah said the vaccines had undergone testing and approval processes by relevant agencies and therefore were safe for use.

“Public Officers have not been directed by the 1st Respondent to have mandatory medical human experimentation; they have been directed to have vaccines, which have gone through the experimentation phase, and been approved for use by the manufacturers’ regulators such as US Food and Drug Administration, and globally by WHO,” state broadcaster KBC quotes the ruling.

According to Justice Rika, the COVID-19 vaccination should not be limited by the concept of informed consent, as it is being administered in a globally acknowledged emergency situation.

“Failure to vaccinate will result in serious risk to public health. Delay in vaccination might result in death or irreversible damage to health,” he said.

So far, a total of 22,150,312 vaccine doses have been administered across the East African country. The exercise is still ongoing as the government pushes to achieve its inoculation targets.