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Home / My Man

Men only: Is getting a Covid-19 Vaccine is the only way back to living?

My Man
By Tony Mochama | 1 year ago | 4 min read

 Look, folks, there is a very stringent scientific process that goes into the making and approval of all vaccines (Shutterstock)

We were at the Moroccan ambassador’s residence, a fortnight or so ago, for an American-Israeli celebration (there is a large Jewish community in Morocco).

Our host, HE Mokhtar Ghambou, a witty and erudite man who spent 20 years teaching ‘African Studies’ at the prestigious Yale University, was roaming about in the lush green garden of the residence while engaging us. ‘Do you fear corona, sir?’ a young woman asked him.

‘Not since I went to Rabat a month ago and got my vaccine, mademoiselle,’ he smiled.

And here begins our Easter story!

Since the start of the year, three people I knew personally have died of Covid-19 — my old college pal Mombasa magistrate Elvis, Winnie Mukami with whom I was in the Pan-African Congress (K) and Lorna Irungu, with whom I acted in Phoenix Players, many years ago.

In Morocco, the Sovereign has targeted 25 million adults for inoculation against the coronavirus. By the end of March, 4 million, or 16 per cent of that population, had received their shots. Contrast that with Kenya, where only 100k folks, or 0.2 per cent of us, have been vaccinated.

Did I mention that Elvis, Winnie and Lorna all fell within my age bracket (40s)? Which was why earlier in the week, when I saw MoH’s Dr Mercy Mwagangi’s tweet that the Sputnik V vaccine had received ‘Emergency Use Authorisation’ by the Poisons and Pharmaceutical Board, I was all good to get vaccinated, as I told my disbelieving editor.

If you’ve read this column long enough, you’ll know my years in Saint Petersburg turned me into a dedicated Russophile. So much so that, on World Poetry Day two weekends ago, the women at the Moscow Biennale chose Nii Parkes and myself as their Poesia ’21 curators.

But it is also smart to research stuff for oneself, da? The PPB received 75k pages of research to clear the Russki vaccine. Austria has ordered one million doses and they use it in Budapest – and by the end of May, it will be rolled out in Italy, Germany, France and Spain.

I mention these European nations because the sad fact is we black miros prefer to know ‘mzungu anachukuwa hio medicine’ (so it must be safe!), and yet the Chinese and Indians have equally effective and efficacious vaccines.

Anyway, I logged into ‘Healthier Kenya’ and booked my appointment to get vaccinated at South ‘B’ hospital – which is like 500 metres from where I live.

Twenty four hours later, I feel fine other than a sore feeling on the injection spot (and a mild headache, which may be more due to the fact that I’ve been up at 2am all week to beat a long story deadline. But though I will soon have corona immunity, I will not walk around without a face mask because I do not have ‘diplomatic immunity’ against arrest by barakoa barracudas.

Look, folks, there is a very stringent scientific process that goes into the making and approval of all vaccines. The government has been giving free anti-Covid-19 shots for certain categories of people, like healthcare workers, and Kenyans over the age of 58. Please go get them. If you are a private citizen, there are those portals like I mentioned to book your vaccination.

The truth being once enough of us have been inoculated against this coronavirus, then we will have achieved herd immunity, and the virus will slowly vanish. Lockdowns will be lifted so people can go spend their holidays in Mombasa or Kisii or wherever. Curfews will be gone so that, on a day like today, we can watch the EPL at our local Piccolina pub – except that it is disappeared during the tragedy of Covid-19, to be replaced by a dispensary.

At the end of 1957, a little dog called Laika went to outer space on a satellite called ‘Sputnik II.’ Laika was the first living being from Earth to go into space, and she lasted less than a week there, cosmonaut canine.

I like to think of Laika orbiting our planet in that capsule, observing a sunrise and sunset every 15 minutes, wondering how she had gone from the streets of Moscow, to a space where this entire glittering planet lies before her eyes. The same science where a shot in the arm can save the lives of millions on Earth.


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