UHRC concerned about low Covid-19 vaccine uptake

The Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC is concerned about the low rate of Covid-19 vaccination.

According to records from the Ministry of Health, by July 30, 2021, 902,293 and 233,950 people had received their first and second jab respectively. The country’s target is to vaccinate at least half of its population before the country returns to normalcy.

Dr Patricia Achan Okiria, one of the commissioners at UHRC says that the number of vaccinated people constitutes only a minimal percent of the total population of 22 million people.

Dr Achan says that mass vaccination of a large population will help produce immunity among the population and also call for full reopening of the country. According to Achan, the lockdown has had adverse effects on various spheres of life of the population.

Last week, Uganda received an additional 586,080 Covid-19 vaccine doses. The doses include 300,000 Sinovac vaccine doses donated by the Chinese government and the rest are AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the Norwegian government through the Covax facility.

This brings the total number of vaccine doses received to 1.7 million doses through COVAX, and directly from the governments of India and China.

In June 2021, President Yoweri Museveni instituted a 42 days nationwide lockdown. Two weeks ago, Museveni partially lifted the lockdown on the condition that there is strict observance to the Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs.

The commission also expressed concern about members of the public who do not wear masks, don’t practice social distancing and flout curfew regulations, which could expose them to COVID 19.

Dr Achan also asked security agencies to strictly enforce the presidential guidelines but ensure that they respect the freedom and rights of the public.

Dr Aidah Nakiganda, the Director of Complaints and Investigations says that during the lockdown, they received 40 complaints of human rights violations.

Nakiganda says the complainants cited torture and detention by police beyond 48 hours. She says they have already launched investigations into the complaints.

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