Covid-19 certificate: Chanjo text is enough
HEALTH & SCIENCEBy MERCY KAHENDA | Mon,Dec 06 2021 00:00:00 EATBy MERCY KAHENDA | Mon,Dec 06 2021 00:00:00 EAT
You don’t have to apply for and walk around waving a Covid-19 certificate to access government services as they are automated and accessible via the Chanjo System portal.
Andrew Mulwa, the Acting Director of Medical Services, said the Chanjo portal generates certificates for those vaccinated and the instant message it sends on a user’s mobile phone number can also serve as a certificate because it is official and manned by the ministry.
Dr Mulwa said those interested can print the certificates from the portal, but it is not a must to have around with it while seeking services.
Covid 19 Time Series
“The message is enough proof of an individual being vaccinated. I have travelled abroad by just presenting a message from my mobile phone from the Chanjo system,” he said, adding that this should also apply to those who are partially vaccinated.
Mulwa said those traveling can download the vaccination certificate from the portal and present it to travel agencies.
He said the Chanjo portal cannot be manipulated. It also registers those without ID cards and those aged below 18 years, but those vaccinated should give accurate information for proper configuration.
Late last month, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe warned that effective December 21, it will be mandatory for Kenyans to present a Covid-19 vaccination certificate to access services in any government institution, including hospitals, the National Transport Service Authority (NTSA), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Immigration Department, prison visitations and port services.
It will also be mandatory for matatu drivers and conductors, boda boda operators, pilots and air hostesses to show proof of vaccination to operate. Individuals will also not be allowed into bars, hotels, restaurants and national parks without a Covid-19 certificate.
The directive comes when a majority of Kenyans are planning to travel for Christmas and New Year festivities. It also comes four weeks shy of the deadline set to vaccinate 10 million people in Kenya and 27 million by 2022.
However, the directive has been criticised by lobby groups and some Kenyans who say everyone has a right to access government services, with or without the jab.
Lawyer Joshua Maritim, chair of the Law Society of Kenya North Rift Branch, said the government can stop citizens from accessing services for failing to get vaccinated as it is unconstitutional and against fundamental rights.
“Kenyans have a right to choose which kind of medication to take. I do not think not taking the vaccines proves the danger of being denied services.”
Maritim said the government has an obligation to screen individuals who have the virus, a role that cannot be pushed to the citizen.
“Everyone is entitled to government services without any form of discrimination on the basis of their gender or religious persuasion. Also, everyone has the right to attain highest level of health, but have the right to choose the type of medication they want to take,” he said, adding that nobody should be compelled to take the jab.
However, the lawyer says a restraining order can be issued under the Public Health Act if a person is capable of passing an infectious disease to others.
Prof Matilu Mwau, a virologist and deputy director, Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), said Kenyans should not wait to be pushed to get vaccinated.
“We do not want to go the geopolitics way, vaccination boosts our immunity. Let us pick the jab to prevent deaths and hospitalisation. We are not yet out of the hook,” said the researcher.
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