As Uganda prepares to phase out its plan to vaccinate children against COVID-19, the ministry of health has released a statement stating that a child won’t be vaccinated without the consent of parents.
The Director-General of Uganda Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, recently said that media reports of underage children between the ages of 12 and 17 being vaccinated without parental approval have come to his notice. But he declared these reports to be false.
Dr.Mwebesa made it clear that no child would be vaccinated against COVID-19 without their parents’, guardians’, or caregivers’ consent. This will be ensured during their vaccination.
He explained that while the government hopes to boost child immunity against COVID through vaccination, a variety of stakeholders, including parents, are still in discussions about the best way forward. He also said the Ministry of Health and the Scientific and Vaccine Advisory Committee will inform the public after consulting with the Cabinet.
As COVID-19 cases rise in the country, the development of phasing out vaccination programs for children is timely. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the country’s health minister, warned last week that the country is now experiencing an upsurge in daily infections, just like it did last January. This was the time when the deadly Omicron variant of COVID-19 struck the country of Uganda, killing several people.
COVID restrictions were further relaxed in April when the government said that those fully vaccinated need not wear face masks when outside if there are no crowds around. People with comorbidities or those who are at high-risk, such as the elderly (aged above 50) and the high-risk population, were requested to wear masks, whether or not they are vaccinated.