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Clerics want Uhuru, CSs 'to lead' and get Covid-19 jab

By Josphat Thiong'o | March 13th 2021

Religious leaders at Deliverance church. Langata road. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The clergy now want President Uhuru Kenyatta and members of his Cabinet to receive a dose of the coronavirus vaccine in public to reassure Kenyans on its safety.

This comes amid criticism of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and a decision by a few European countries to halt its usage on fears that those who have been inoculated may have an increased risk of blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency, however, said there is no indication that vaccination has caused the health condition.

The Kenya Council of Church Alliances and Ministries (KCCAM) yesterday said political goodwill was needed to shed any doubts that the public is harbouring.

"The President and his ministers should be at the forefront of taking the Covid-19 vaccine so that he can build the nation’s confidence and Kenyans will follow suit,” said KCCAM deputy chair Steve Mutua.

He added: "A father cannot send his children to get immunised yet he himself has not been vaccinated. We are appealing to the national government to continue reassuring Kenyans on the safety of the vaccine."

President Kenyatta, who addressed the nation yesterday, assured Kenyans of the vaccine's safety, but stressed that no one will be forced to get the jab.

"Kenya is entering a critical phase in the management and control of the pandemic with the arrival of WHO pre-qualified Covid-19 vaccines. This vaccine has been tested and our medical experts are persuaded that its safety profile is bankable. And, I must make it clear, the vaccination is voluntary," he said.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday became the first East African head of state to be vaccinated against Covid-19. He joined a list of other African leaders such as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo.

On the global stage, US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have also been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

KCCAM chair Kepher Omae criticised politicians for disregarding Health ministry guidelines as they move around the country to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative and engage in early campaigns for next year's General Election.

The leaders urged Uhuru to prioritise economic recovery and tame the government's appetite for borrowing especially for purposes of expenditure.

"We are alarmed by the ballooning public debt that could put the future of the country in danger,” said Omae.

They also expressed concerns that the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed down job creation and disrupted economic activity, thus exposing the youth to social ills such as crime, drug abuse and deviant behavior.

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