Health Rights activists have blasted Uganda Human Rights
Commission-UHRC for downplaying the right of Ugandans to reject vaccination.
It comes a day after the Commission Chairperson, Mariam Wangadya, said that Ugandans have no right
to reject the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination exercise during a press conference ahead
of the International Human Rights Day held annually on December 10, 2021.
health activists, Wangadya’s statement has no
basis in the law and that any effort to promote vaccination should follow
proper laws locally and internationally. Moses Mulumba, the head of the
Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), says that Uganda
Human Rights Commission should understand that they can only operate within the
He referred to the Immunization Act 2017, which gives the
minister of Health powers to issue a statutory instrument to provide for
vaccination in extraordinary cases. The minister can also determine if the
vaccination is mandatory or not. Mulumba says since the Minister has not
issued such an instrument, it is incorrect for the Commission to say that
Ugandans cannot reject vaccination.
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Although the commission is mandated to guide the
government on human rights issues, Mulumba says that if the government followed
them on that, they would risk being sued by Ugandans forced to take the vaccine
without following the law.
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Mable Kukunda from the Uganda National Health
Consumer's/ users’ Organization also says that UHRC is wrong to say that
Ugandans cannot reject vaccination. She says Uganda should only enforce
existing laws and in the event that there is no law making it mandatory to take
COVID-19 jab, people's rights should be respected.
Kukunda says that consent is important especially since
many of the vaccines on market are still in trial stages, adding that is partly
why the World Health Organization guides that people consent to vaccination by
filling consent forms.
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Kukunda says that the government should have an instrument in
place if they are to make COVID-19 Vaccination mandatory. However, most
important to her, Kukunda wants the government to enhance sensitization efforts
to have the public embrace vaccination.
She says there are various anti-vaccination
campaigns marred with myths that discourage people from taking the COVID-19
jab. There are myths in the public domain that vaccination is a depopulation
campaign by the whites. Kukunda says the public should be educated on the
importance of taking the jab to counter the falsehoods disseminated by
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Kukunda says that the government should also
address issues of side effects. She called for a study into how people react
when they take the jab. Last week, the Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng
told a committee of Parliament that the Ministry was working on an instrument
to make COVID-19 vaccination and some other measures to curb the virus