INTENSIVE NATIONAL VACCINATION EXERCISE OF KENYAN ATHLETES COMMENCES
Attention: Sports Editors
For the past two years, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has steered our country through the tumultuous wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with inspiring courage and exemplary resolve.
According to emerging evidence, sports and creative economies have been worst hit by the effects of the pandemic. Nevertheless, our athletes who are Kenya’s International Brand Ambassadors have shown incredible resilience and agility. They have observed all the Presidential and Ministry of Health Guidelines with admirable discipline which has been the hallmark of Kenya’s dominance in sports globally. I wish to thank our sportsmen and women for their leadership, personally and collectively. The Sports fraternity has proved to the country that discipline, selfless sacrifice and unfettered vision can get us through the most difficult circumstances.
As a global sports leader, Kenya has yet again demonstrated her focus to fight this debilitating virus. Today, we have commenced a nationwide vaccination program covering all our national Teams with specific priority to Teams participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, all personnel working on the WRC/FIA Safari Rally Kenya, World Athletics Under 20 Championships, World Athletics Continental Tour, the Rugby Barthes Cup, all Sports SAGAS, specifically Sports Kenya, the Kenya Academy of Sports, Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund and all Ministry of Sports frontline staffers.
In total, we have, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Nairobi Metropolitan Services secured 3500 vaccines for this exercise. My colleagues Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, Cabinet Secretary for Health and General Mohammed Badi, Director General, Nairobi Metropolitan Services have provided our sportsmen and women with an opportunity to become globally Covid-19 compliant, paving the way for our teams to safely compete in international events with the full protection of the vaccine. This indeed is the spirit of Government delivering as one.
Increasingly sports organizers around the world are requiring that delegations possess COVID-19 Vaccination Passports over and above a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate. This exercise will guarantee that our athletes continue to represent the country in these crucial events, continuing with the Kenyan tradition of international sports dominance.
Further, Kenya is also set to host various international sports events such as the World Athletics Under-20 Championships, FIA/World Rally Championship (Safari Rally Kenya), the World Athletics Continental Tour and the Rugby Barthez Cup among others. These events require adequate preparation, including full vaccination and reciprocal compliance with International Covid-19 Sporting Protocols. I assure the country that this exercise will cover every sportsperson and support personnel wherever they may be.
Our collective policy at the Ministry has been to lead with the Athlete at the centre of all our operations. In this case, Athletes and their handlers were isolated as the first vaccination tier, followed by critical Ministry officials who work round the clock to ensure that their needs are adequately and optimally met. This formula of putting the athlete first has changed our operations at the Ministry and evidently, broadened Kenya’s command disciplines beyond athletics to Volleyball, Rugby, Basketball, Judo, Boxing, Canoeing, Motorsports, Tong il Modo, Kabaddi, Tae Kwon Do, Shooting and Paralympic sports.
This vaccination exercise will run until Tuesday next week following a National – County Government Vaccination Collaboration Model covering Nairobi, Kajiado, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet. Our target is to inoculate a total of 3,500 athletes, coaches, officials and athlete handlers across the country ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the World Rally Championship, Safari Rally Kenya.
It is my hope that this show of resolve by our global Ambassadors inspires fellow compatriots qualified to take the vaccine at this time to present themselves in large numbers. Let us all play a part in healing and protecting our country and fellow citizens.
Finally, I urge all those being vaccinated to remain vigilant and continue to operate within the COVID-19 containment measures as stipulated by His Excellency the President and guided by the Ministry of Health Protocols.
Issued at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, Nairobi on 8th April 2021.
Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed, EGH, CAV