Government Decree and Covid Vaccinations.
The date for those not vaccinated gaining access to government services was the 22nd of Dec 2021. The same was extended to other sectors such as transport, churches and other social events. And according to reports, people have been scrambling to get vaccinated in order not to be locked out.
On the surface it could look like a win for the government which over the ages has proved not to honor the rule of law. Even after the court halting such rush and forceful pronouncements made in what could looks like defeat, the very key players seem not adhere to care of anything.
In a BBC program aired on the 22nd December 2021, the point of discussion was why the African Continent lags behind in terms of covid vaccinations. The average vaccination percentage for the continent is about seven percentage or thereabout.
Kenya seems to be double ahead of that at about 14 percentage for fully vaccinated individuals. Of course, that should not be the reason of being joyful that we are ahead of other countries, nay. The approach itself is one that is questioned everyday and everywhere.
Using intimidation and ultimatums to compel people to get vaccinated is unacceptable. It was tried with Nigeria and the response has not been what the government there expected. For Kenya, we will wait and see but I think the idea of ignorant citizenry has long lost relevance with us.
People now want to be given all the facts before making some important decisions such as getting vaccinated. Forcing them to get vaccinated and when they stand to ask you what is in the vaccine itself and someone mumbles to the effect that I don’t know but you must be vaccinated leaves a lot of questions to be answered.
Another faction wonders why the heightened calls to vaccinate people when cancer has been around and no one ever cared to improve access to those seeking cancer services. The feeling that we are impulsive and not really aware of what our priorities are needs to be handled carefully to enable many to sober up for the vaccine. Let there be a good explanation on why prioritize this over that.
When a question, relevant and right on point gets raised about the covid vaccinations and one fails to explain it out well and instead utters ultimatums or consequences of not getting vaccinated, then it by all means breeds rebellion. To illustrate this, I will use the case of an animal being taken for slaughter.
In my village, slaughtering an animal is like a right to us the people. We only wake up in the morning and decide to slaughter an animal. Most of the time, we begin by sharpening the knives. This is done when the animal is already separated from the rest of the flock and tied not far away from where the sharpening takes place.
A close study reveals that the animal gets tense and the flight hormone begins to increase in the body as it realizes its fate. So, when the moment of driving the animal to the slaughter point comes, it becomes very hostile. Most of the time the animal stages a very serious revolting fight which even ends up causing harm to some of the men who are fighting the animal in order to slaughter it.
Now, there is a jungle tribe of the Kalahari Desert who when they want to slaughter an animal, they use a different approach. For them, they let everything run as usual. The animal eats well and continues on its daily routine. When the time for slaughter comes, they sedate it by kind of a prickle and then they speak kindly to the animal telling it why its death means life to the people of the desert and future generations. And then it is slaughtered without much fight.
Well, aside from what could look unacceptable before us and what looks common, which of the two slaughters looks successful full chain? Depending on what looks successful to you, it may determine the approach you could take when faced with a situation of encouraging people to be vaccinated just like the government is in right now.
I feel the government should do these. One, it needs to increase four-fold its public awareness campaigns on the vaccination exercise. Amid this awareness, instead of remaining silent on social media propaganda or using threats, they should counter the negative publicity with facts.
Secondly, this should not be a political thing. Let it be handled from a health point of view. Allowing it to be a political issue however small, the political sides pulling the tag of war rope to their side will make it harder for the exercise to succeed as it turns out to be one of those tipping issues of which fact will not be of value.
Thirdly, let the vaccines go to the people. Polio vaccines go the to the people, why not this one. Arguing about logistical issues may be lame. Storage of the vaccines should not even be an issue because I know of how that can be made possible.
Lastly and somehow uncommon; threats, ultimatums and force should not be used. It may look as a success on the surface but deep inside, it breeds animosity and rebellion. In fact, when looked at critically, it means defeat and serious failure. That should not be prioritized as it is now. Again, it may raise animosity amongst the people by turning some people against others especially as we enter the political season.
Remember people are now informed and should be treated as so. Assuming otherwise is the gravest mistake any person can ever make in this age. However, the success and failure in these approaches to vaccinate the masses is very thin and should be treaded with utmost care.