The High Court has halted government plans to deny unvaccinated citizens essential services from December 21.
In an order issued on Tuesday, Justice Anthony Mrima suspended the directive pending the hearing and determination of a petition filed by businessman Enock Aura through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui.
The directive was issued on November 21 by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe who chairs the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus (NERC).
In a statement, Kagwe urged Kenyans to ensure they are fully vaccinated before December 21 after which they would be locked out of in-person government services.
The services include Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Education, National Transport Service Authority (NTSA), Immigration, hospital and prison visitations and port services among others.
The government also announced plans to lock out unvaccinated Kenyans from entertainment joints across the country.
The petitioner argues if the directive is enforced Kenyans will be denied essential services which they have been supporting through taxes without equal benefit.
Sarova Hotels and Resorts Kenya had already announced plans to deny unvaccinated guests services in all its facilities as the festive season approaches.
Amnesty International is among lobby groups that criticized the directive.
Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton urged authorities to abandon the coercive measures and instead accelerate effective education programmes to address misinformation hampering vaccine uptake.
“While there are legitimate public health reasons for as many people as possible to be vaccinated, these reasons should not deprive a person of their right to work, essential services including education, health and security, and their freedom of movement. These are all fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms,” Irungu said last month.
The organization warned that the move risks domesticating the global vaccine apartheid “and creating those with rights and those without.”
Irungu said the move also risks eroding public confidence gains in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts and encourage a mushrooming of fake vaccine certificates.