Written by Ernest Jjingo, The Observer (17/02/2022) (Photo/Hajarah Nalwadda/The Associated Press)
Several leading figures have criticised government’s efforts to amend the Public Health Act in order to make it mandatory for citizens to vaccinated against Covid-19.
This was the general consensus during a key stakeholders’ virtual town hall meeting on February 14 about the validity of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations. Government is also proposing a six-month jail term for anyone who fails to to comply with vaccination requirements.
Winnie Kiiza, the former leader of opposition in parliament, noted that the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination is not being done in good faith.
“I personally would not encourage our legislators to go ahead with the law and putting our lives in danger. My dignity matters and therefore what goes into my body should be primarily my concern. I need to be informed of the dangers and the rights that I have in respect to my body. I, therefore, would like to tell the government to go slow on this,” she said.
“There are so many other ways we can prevent ourselves from getting Covid-19. We have done better in other circumstances where we have found ourselves in pandemics and I advise that we use the same systems.”
In the same vein, Dr Eva Mugisa, a pharmacist, expressed concern at the safety issues and likely side effects associated with the mandatory vaccinations.
“These vaccines will not only affect our generation but even the generations to come because we do not know their full profile. We are not guinea pigs, we are bodies and have to be respected and treated with dignity,” she said.
“Informed consent is a right that is given to us. As doctors, we need to step up and do the right thing because it is a privilege to serve and get people treated but let us respect people and remember that we shall be held accountable for our participation.”
Meanwhile, lawyer Simon Ssenyonga noted that Covid-19 is being used as a form of oppression.
“When Covid-19 broke out, the first form of oppression we realised were curfews and lockdowns but the new face of Covid-19 oppression that we are witnessing right now is mandatory vaccination,” he noted.
“The citizens need to wake up to the fact that they have fundamental human rights that need to be realised and because this is not just about their current health but the future of their nation, it should not be a free ticket to the government to continuously lock us down as a justification for low uptake of vaccines.”
Of recent, public pressure has forced government to backtrack on its Covid-19 directives. Last month, government reversed its decision on mandatory presentation of Covid-19 vaccination card before using public means and last week, government also dropped the mandatory requirement for Covid-19 testing at Entebbe airport.