Uganda’s Parliamentary Health Committee stated Tuesday that it is considering proposed legislation that will impose fines on those who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and possibly jail terms for those who fail to pay.
A statement released on the parliament’s website states that the “Parliament’s Committee on Health has started the consideration of the Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that among other things seeks to ensure mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.” The statement additionally states that “those who do not get vaccinated against COVID-19 will be fined Shs4 million or a jail term of six months.”
Despite the country administrating vaccines for nearly a year, only 23% of its population is fully vaccinated. According to Uganda’s Ministry of Health, 14,973,293 total jabs have been administered across the population of 45 million. Thus, the proposed legislation comes as an attempt to raise vaccination numbers and eliminate widespread reluctance of the vaccine through enforcing mandatory vaccines.
Appearing before the committee, committee chairperson, Dr. Charles Ayume, suggested that the proposal was long overdue and asserted that:
by the time these things are presented, there is a lot of consultation, benchmarking and comparison with the World Health Organisation guidelines, for someone refusing to vaccinate, they are endangering the community near them.
As reported by the World Health Organisation, Uganda has recorded over 163,000 cases of coronavirus and 3,585 deaths.