While the government had initially said that Covid-19 vaccination is not compulsory and subject to consent, since the vaccines are new and have never been used before, this sentiment seems to have changed following low uptake of the vaccines by targeted groups.
Authorities in Health and
Education ministries are seemingly in support of ‘mandatory’ COVID-19
vaccination of teachers and other front-line workers.
While the government had initially said that COVID-19
vaccination is not compulsory and subject to consent, since the vaccines are
new and have never been used before, this sentiment seems to have changed
following low uptake of the vaccines by targeted groups.
Now several schools, local government authorities and also some
health facilities are making it a requirement for members of staff. Workers are
being told they need to produce evidence of being vaccinated.
The move started with the Uganda Cancer Institute tweeting that
all staff will be required to get vaccinated. Then came Goeffrey Osborn Oceng,
the Amuru Resident District Commissioner, who doubles as the Chairperson
COVID-19 Taskforce for the District threatening prioritized groups of people
including teachers, and health workers to go for the jabs or else their
salaries will be withheld.
Similarly, several private schools, mostly in Kampala and
Wakiso, have reportedly ordered their staff to either be vaccinated or quit
When asked to comment on
these actions, the Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng said that the move taken
by the Amuru RDC is exemplary.
//Cue in; "We came out...
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Ismail Mulindwa, the Ministry
of Education director of basic education and the ministry’s Covid-19 taskforce
chairman, also says they have been surprised to learn that teachers are
adamantly refusing to go for their COVID-19 jabs.
To him, the action of delaying or complete refusal of being
vaccinated increases the risk of teachers contracting the disease or even
spreading it to the children in their classes.
//Cue in; "A mere fact...
He adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the
education sector and vaccinating teachers is seen as a critical step towards
putting it back on track.
Mulindwa says although they are aware that vaccination is
voluntary, the education ministry is considering consulting their health
counterparts to ascertain whether there are possible means through which
COVID-19 vaccination can be mandatory for teachers.
//Cue in; "That
Cue out...don’t think
However, Filbert Baguma, the General Secretary Uganda National
Teacher Union - UNATU warns that compelling teachers and other workers to go for
COVID-19 vaccination is illegal as it infringes on the rights of workers.