By Gladys KigoziIn the effort to control the spread of COVID-19, the government of Uganda embarked on a mass vaccination exercise to minimize on the negative effects of this severe disease.However the Parliament of Uganda on 19th July 2022, rejected the compulsory vaccination bill.The Scribe News talked to different locals in Mukono District, to share their views about the matter.Sarah Mukisa 64, a business lady and a resident of Butebe Village in Mukono Municipality says, I have not vaccinated yet due to overcrowding at the vaccination center (Mukono General Hospital) but am planning to do so very soon, because l know that in order to be on the safe side I have to go in for a jab.“I am really disappointed by the Parliament’s decision for vaccination to be optional, they are our leaders so they have to come up with better safety measures for us all. Some local people don’t know the importance of vaccination so such people should be forced to vaccinate to save their lives and that of others near them”, she said.Stephen Ssegane 48 a casual labourer and a resident of Makoko in Nakifuma, says, “I vaccinated fully at Nakifuma health centre iv but I am very happy with the Parliament for rejecting the compulsory vaccination. Vaccination should be optional. I don’t see any reason as to why one should be forced to go for vaccination, we need to respect people’s rights “, he said.Gerald Kamya a village health team ( VHT) of Baagala Zone in Goma Division Mukono Municipality says that: “As a VHT, I have been working hard to mobilize residents for vaccination and they had responded positively, but now with the rejection of the compulsory vaccination bill they are going to relax.“Many children are likely to miss out on vaccination in future, because their parents will be reluctant hence putting their lives at stake”, he said.Kamya is not alone as there other VHTs thinking the same, another VHT Scovia Namutebi a resident of Mulago village in Mukono Municipality says that by Parliament rejecting the compulsory vaccination bill its a very big disappointment to them.“We expect our leaders to support and encourage us in the voluntary work we do of mobilising locals to guard against diseases, but Parliament has not helped us”, she said.The Initiative for Social and Economics Rights ( ISER) Community Outreach Officer Mr Joshua Kisawuzi says that, At whatever stage, the government must respect the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) making gross vaccination/ treatment is a gross disrespect of citizens rights and freedom of expression and must be condemned at any stage of appearance.
He says that people should first consent before administering injections, so tricky use of force by the duty bearers under disguise of putting laws through Parliament is unacceptable.
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