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Uganda seeks law making COVID-19 jabs mandatory

Uganda is preparing legislation to make COVID-19 jabs mandatory in a country with low levels of vaccination, a senior health official said.

Legislation was now with parliament and the health committee is scrutinising it, the head of the national immunisation programme, Alfred Driwale, told Reuters.

“It is to help prevention of a disease, it’s about prevention of deaths. Considering the impact the pandemic had on the economy this law is needed,” he said.

Uganda has a population of about 45 million people but only about 12.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have so far been administered, according to the health ministry.

Reuters was unable to ascertain when the law was likely to be passed by parliament. Driwale also did not say what the penalties for not complying with the measure would be.

Uganda fully re-opened its economy last month after two years of anti-coronavirus measures that included curfews, businesses and school closures, shutting of borders, grounding of vehicles among others.

The strict measures helped curb the pandemic but drew widespread criticism from Ugandans whose businesses and livelihoods were blighted.

The country has so far recorded a total of about 162,000 cases of COVID-19 and a death toll of 3,500, according to health ministry data.

Government officials have repeatedly complained that vaccination rates had remained low even when vaccines were available, potentially jeopardising gains in curbing the pandemic.

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