By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The government has proposed a bill that will make it compulsory for Ugandans to get vaccinated or be fined Shs4 million or be jailed for six months or both, for refusal to comply.
The Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has since been tabled before Parliament.
The Bill suggests that any persons opposed to the mandatory vaccination exercise as put in place by the government through the Ministry of Health at any administrative unit in the country will be fined 200 currency points, which translates into Shs4m.
The bill provides that in the event of the occurrence or outbreak of any disease that requires vaccination or revaccination for residents, a local government council shall issue a public notice requesting all persons to undergo inspection, vaccination, and revaccination.
According to the bill, a person who fails or neglects to comply with the requirement made under this section commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 20 currency points, which is equivalent to Shs 4 million, or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or both.
The same penalty is proposed for a parent or guardian who fails to present their child for vaccination within 12 months from birth.
The bill authored by the minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng was tabled before parliament by David Bahati, minister of state for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives.
The objective of this bill is to amend the Public Health Act to repeal the obsolete provisions, to revise the fines for offenses committed under the Act, to repeal the Venereal Diseases Act, and the Immunization Act 2017, among others. It has now been referred to the parliamentary health committee for further scrutiny.
The bill also requires a school to retain a copy of the certificate of immunization of every child who is admitted to the school. Under the bill, the government also requires giving of compulsory information or production of any document or other evidence required for the purpose of tracing the source, for purpose of preventing the spread of any infectious disease.
“A person who contravenes any rule made under this section commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred fifty currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, or both,” provides the bill. 150 currency points are equivalent to Shs 3 million.
The bill follows a notification given to parliament in December 2021 by Aceng that she would table a proposed law on public health to provide for mandatory vaccination, wearing of masks, and others. Aceng made the statement while responding to different queries by MPs in regard to the government’s preparedness to combat the new COVID-19 variant, omicron.