A People’s Vaccine is A Just World

by Lucy Wanjiku Njenga

The just world I long to live in is where I am as important as the next person, not on the basis of where I was born or where I live. A just world is a safe world with free and accessible COVID-19 Vaccine.

It has been a whole year of wearing masks and it can get absolutely tiring and uncomfortable when you have to work under the sun in harsh heat and conditions. In my community Dandora, in Nairobi, Kenya, people alternate from wearing masks, to taking a break to putting them back on and sometimes abandoning them all together. On top of the daily needs that have been harder to meet, masks are also part of the budget and it is not always a guarantee that one would prioritize buying masks over other important needs like food. We seem to have forgotten that among those who lost their jobs, many are those who live under a dollar a day.

We talk of an equal world and with social media, we might think the world is more equal now, when it is far from it. When we hear of other countries on our radios that have vaccine for almost all their population and they are going masks-free it seems too good to be true. What did we ever do wrong not to deserve vaccines that ensures we feel safe from this virus? Are we less human beings? This and so many other questions tend to take room in our minds. A just world is where when my child goes to school, I do not get worried to paralysis on what it would mean if she got COVID. A just world is where when I take a Matatu (Kenyan Bus), I do not look at everyone suspiciously and wonder if I will get home safe free of this very infectious virus. It doesn’t have to be like this, we do not have to bury so many of our own, lack beds in hospitals, lack medical care because the vaccine is a profit vaccine. We need a vaccine that leaves no one behind no matter where they live in the world. We need a people’s vaccine that puts people first before profits as for sure as day, when one of us is at risk we are all at risk.

Lucy is the Founder and Executive Coordinator of Positive Young Women Voices in Dandora, Kenya.

This piece was peer reviewed by: Joyce Amondi, Emma Bell, Fiona Hale, Longret Kwardem, Rebecca Mbewe, Jane Shepherd, Martha Tholanah, Alice Welbourn.

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