Man with Arms Folded Wearing COVID Mask

Being There for His Kids Motivates One Dad to Get His COVID-19 Vaccine

UNICEF and the Kenyan government are fighting COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy with a compelling argument: Do it for those you love.

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Kenya received just over 1 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021. Frontline health workers received the vaccine first, but with eligibility extended to teachers, other essential workers and people over 58, UNICEF has been working with Kenya's Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization on the ‘Pata Chanjo ya Tumaini’ (Get the Vaccine of Hope) campaign, encouraging people to get vaccinated. 

Crispin Bolo Otira, a 60-year-old father of five from the densely populated city of Dandora, told Kenya's Star that being vaccinated takes at least one big worry off his plate. 

“When COVID-19 appeared last year, I lost my job,” says Otira, who formerly worked as a printer. “I’m facing financial challenges because school fees are still there, and we are struggling. One of my children is in secondary school, and two are in primary. It is getting hard, but as a parent, I’m trying.”

Otira’s financial stress is consuming, but since he received his COVID-19 vaccine, he no longer fears the worst: dying from COVID-19 and leaving his youngest children without a father.

Now that we have this weapon, we can fight the coronavirus. — Crispin Bolo Otira, father of five

“Now, after being vaccinated, I’m very happy,” he continues. “I’m 60 years old, and I have a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old. There is no point bringing children into this world and then leaving them at that tender age. That’s why I urge those who have reached my age to come and get vaccinated. Now that we have this weapon, we can fight the coronavirus.”

Graffiti art urging residents in Dandora, Kenya, to practice COVID-19 prevention measures is part of a nation-wide campaign to convince Kenyans that the COVID-19 vaccine is the only safe way that things can get back to normal. © UNICEFKenya/2021/Lameck Orina

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You can help UNICEF rush vaccines and critical lifesaving supplies to protect health workers, families and communities in Kenya and around the world. Please donate today.

Read about how UNICEF is helping fight the brutal spread of COVID-19 in India here.

Top photo: Now that he's gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, Otira, a 60-year-old father of five, no longer fears he will fall gravely ill and leave his children behind to fend for themselves. © Lameck Orina/UNICEF