Refusal to be vaccinated isn’t a right, it is irresponsible – UHRC

Refusal to be vaccinated isn’t a right, it is irresponsible - UHRC
UHRC chairperson Mariam Wangadya

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has advised Ugandans that they do not have a right to reject vaccination.

The Commission chairperson Mariam Wangadya, says there is nothing like a right for someone to reject vaccination as some sections of the public have been arguing.

Wangadya was speaking at a press conference at the Commission headquarters in Kampala where they announced activities for the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day celebrated every 10th of December.

Wangadya says one of the campaigns they shall be engaged in ahead of the celebrations include sensitization of the public to go for vaccination. She says they want to promote the group right to health.

The Immunization Act of 2017, provides for the administration of vaccines in extraordinary cases including during an epidemic and when there is danger of entry of transmissible diseases into the country.

According to the Act, vaccination during extraordinary cases is done on orders of the Minister of Health through a statutory instrument. The law gives powers to the minister to determine whether the vaccination is mandatory or not.

In September this year, President Yoweri Museveni while emphasizing need for mass vaccination threatened to fire Resident City/District Commissioners, Chief Administrative Officers and District Health officers who registered low numbers of COVID-19 vaccination in their jurisdictions.

This prompted several RDCs to start denying non vaccinated members of the public access to services including interviews for local government jobs.

Asked for the commission’s view on denying members of the public access to services as a method to compel them to embrace vaccination, the Commission was non-committal. One of the Commissioners, Meddie Mulumba said it is also the duty of the public and the media to promote vaccination.

He didn’t explicitly say that people should be denied services because they are not vaccinated but emphasized the need to be vaccinated citing examples from other countries which have made vaccination compulsory.

Read Also: Uganda to debate law on mandatory vaccination, wearing of masks

Mulumba said there might come a time when a COVID-19 vaccination card is as useful as a National Identity Card which is needed before one accesses certain institutions to be served. He says a person who isn’t vaccinated could infringe on the rights of others who are vaccinated through exposing them to the virus.

At the same event, the Commission called upon both state and non-state actors to desist from acts of torture and other forms of human rights abuses. The commission commended security agencies for protecting the country.

Regarding reports of extrajudicial killings of terrorism suspects, the commission chairperson Mariam Wangadya said they have received some complaints which they shall investigate.

The Commission shall run its campaigns on media platforms through talk shows before holding the final commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on 10th December.