Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vaccination of children against COVID-19 might compromise the herd immunity for children and expose their bodies to danger, health experts and activists have said.
Speaking at the 13th virtual townhall meeting on May 9 titled; Paediatrics and child health – a risk-benefit analysis of covid-19 vaccines for children, the experts said, the idea should be dropped. If anything, they said, consent from parents must be sought.
Uganda’s Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, said two weeks ago, that government would start vaccinating children against COVID-19 this month when school term commences. She said, the Pfizer vaccine approved for use in children will be deployed to vaccinate this age group to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 within schools and other places.
Health experts and anti-covid vaccination drives are asking; where is the idea of consent for parents in all this? Why is there a rush or why is the government rushing to vaccinate children who have not been adversely affected by the pandemic?
There seems to be a disagreement in terms of views from government regarding this matter. The Minister of Education and Sports and First Lady, Janet Museveni said at a press conference last week that covid vaccination for children should be left to the parents’ choice.
But Aceng’s ministry has not publicly responded to Janet Museveni’s view.
Dr Clara Wekesa, the chairperson, Medics for Faith Association said, the children are less likely to have severe infection for covid and that their recovery rate is as high as 99%, and hardly require hospitalization.
“…they would not be a target population for vaccination. I would not consider them a vulnerable group,” Wekesa said.
She also said, the death rate for children has been reported at less than 1% and many (children) have had the opportunity to develop natural immunity which is more robust and long lasting.
Above all, she said, the vaccine is not stopping infection, transmission.
John Taylor, the founder for Free the Children -Save the Nation platform based in South Africa did not differ much from Wekesa’s views. He said, the risk profile for covid is heavily biased towards the old people.
“Children have strong natural immunity,” he said. “It makes no sense to vaccinate them; doing so could compromise their natural immunity against future viruses.” He also said, this could turn out to be an emotional burden to the children for the rest of their life.
Taylor said, the whole idea of mandatory vaccination aims to enslave people and impose medical tyranny on to the people – and we should fight it.
Eric Ssenyonjo, a parent, medical entomologist and proprietor for St Annes Primary School in Lubowa, Kampala said, for many years, parents have been vaccinating their children against diseases right from child birth voluntarily.
He wondered why the government is moving towards amending health related laws to impose fines and jail terms for those that will not respect vaccination mandates.
“As a parent, I would not allow my children to be vaccinated with an experimental vaccine; this is a gene vaccine and could alter children’s genes,” he said.
Dr. Robert Rapiti, paediatric specialist with over 35 years, said he has not seen many children presenting symptoms of covid -19 which is why he does not support the idea of vaccinating them with a ‘toxic’ vaccine.
Joshua Mukisa, a law student and member of the National Christian Students Association is also opposed to vaccination of children saying it will cause stigma in schools.
He also said, the right to access to information about the vaccine to whoever it is being administered to is provided for in the law and should be respected by the government and those supporting mandatory vaccination.
Asked to describe the government’s move on mandatory vaccination, Mukisa said, “It is extremely bamboozling and I’m greatly perturbed by the government’s insistence on enforcing the mandatory vaccination.”