Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A seven-year-old girl has pinned her father, a local council chairman in Kitgum district, for advising her not to be immunized, during the ongoing mass measles-rubella immunization campaign.
The minor reportedly refused to undergo through measles and rubella immunization at her school on Thursday citing a directive from her father, Kenneth Ocan, 28, the chairperson of Ikorom village in Mucwini sub-county.
Geoffrey Orach, the health assistant at Mucwini health centre III told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the girl broke into tears when she was asked to join the queue for the jab which is needed to interrupt the transmission of measles, rubella and polio in children aged under 15.
According to Orach, the child told the vaccination team that her father had cautioned all his children against accepting to be immunized, whether in school or at home because the vaccine being used in the campaign kills children.
Orach said that the matter was brought to the attention of the Resident District Commissioner William Komakech and Police officers at Mucwini Police Post for immediate intervention.
Komakech has since issued an order to Ocan to ensure that he takes all his children for immunization or face arrest. He says a verification exercise will also be conducted to ascertain whether the Chairperson’s influence has not affected immunization of children in the community.
But Ocan denies the allegations saying he has been behind mobilizing community members for the same campaign to get their children immunized.
The five days’ mass immunization campaign which targets about 18 million children under 15 years’, is funded by the Government of Uganda; GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; the United Nations Children’s Fund; and the World Health Organization (WHO). The campaign will be used to introduce the measles-rubella vaccine into the country’s routine immunization schedule.