Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | COVID-19 mandates including vaccination and standard operating procedures should be enforced by authorities while knowing that there are people whose natural immune system is strong enough to beat the pandemic, experts have said.
The government of Uganda continues to encourage Ugandans to go for COVID-19 vaccination so that it can be able to reopen the country in January next year.
However, speaking during the 7th virtual townhall COVID-19 meeting under the theme, ‘from lockdowns to liberty’, Dr. Carol Atugonza, a bio medical scientist and researcher, said vaccination is good but the mandate is infringing on the rights of the unvaccinated individuals who are denied access to certain places and services.
“We have a fighting chance because of our strong natural immunity,” Atugonza said, “there should not be a mandate on vaccination since it does not stop one from getting covid after vaccination.”
Eron Kiiza, a human rights activist and lawyer, said the government should not discriminate people when it comes to service delivery basing on their vaccination status.
“That would be abuse of power,” he said. “There is no law forcing people to go for vaccination,” Kiiza added. He said, if people are forced to get Covid vaccine, they are being subjected to mental torture.
Jeffery Tucker, the founder of the Brownstone Institute, an author and former editorial director of the American Institute of Economics Research said, Covid mandates (standard operating procedures) have been implemented by governments as experiments and many have taken away rights of the people.
He said, restricted movements and related COVID mandates denied people access to key services like education which has resulted in societal problems.
He said Covid SOPs do not contribute to population or community immunity and that most people do not see the urgency to embrace vaccination which is why many in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, some parts of Europe are protesting against lockdowns.
“There is no case for getting the Covid vaccine when you have a very strong natural immunity,” Tucker said.
He also said, covid has been somewhat politicized in some countries and has favored those with power.
“The disease is being used as an excuse to violate people’s rights,” he said. He added that restricting numbers at worship centres is against the Godly call to people to seek for biblical knowledge at worship centres, but instead gives popular powers to government.
“Once you give government power to control the disease, then they will use that to control you…we need to be smarter,” Tucker added.
He also cited countries like Sweden which did not close schools due to Covid as ones that have secured the future of the school going children.
“Having two years of education taken away from children is problematic,” he added. Agatha Atuhaire, a journalist faulted the government for being the only official source for Covid information. “The media hands have been tied and has not controlled the Covid-19 narrative,” she said.
Simon Ssenyonga, a lawyer said, the government move to close schools and encourage e- learning is unfortunate given that internet access is uneven in most parts of the country. He also said, limiting numbers for worshipers is a deliberate attack on the religious fraternity given that other places like bars are illegally operating.
In a televised address over the weekend, President Yoweri Museveni continued to urge the people to get vaccinated before he can reopen the country in January 2022.
“We shall open the country in January whether people are vaccinated or not,” he said.
The government has crossed the December 4.8million target number of vaccinated people to allow full reopening of the economy. A total of 6million doses of covid-19 vaccines had been administered as at Nov.20, out of this number, majority of the people are yet to get their second jab, according to the ministry of health data.