Unvaccinated staff blocked from accessing Ugandan Ministry of Health premises

A nurse prepares a dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at Mulago referral hospital in Kampala, on the first day of a vaccination campaign on March 10, 2021. - Uganda has started to give vaccination with 964,000 doses from Indian government for frontline workers, nurses, doctors, teachers and officers from all units of police. (Photo by Badru KATUMBA / AFP) (Photo by BADRU KATUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)
A nurse draws a vaccine dose at a health center in Kampala, Uganda. /Getty Images

Authorities at the Ugandan Ministry of Health have blocked staff who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from accessing the premises.

According to a notice by Director-General of Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the position was reached in a special meeting with the aim of promoting vaccination as the country races to inoculate 21.9 million people to fully reopen the economy.

“During the COVID-19 strategic committee meeting, it was resolved that staff who are not fully vaccinated must not access the Ministry premises,” the notice reads in part. “Accordingly, all staff must get vaccinated and shall show results whenever coming to work.  This takes immediate effect.”

The move comes about six days after the National Medical Stores (NMS) announced that it had banned all staff and visitors who are not vaccinated from accessing their offices to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Although the unvaccinated staff at NMS and the Ministry of Health have not come out to complain, legal experts say the directive violates their right to access, specifically for visitors.

Dan Wandera Ogaloo, a constitutional lawyer told Daily Monitor last week that such directives [of barring unvaccinated people] would have been possible if it had been among the Ministry of Health standard operating procedures.

“Anyone can challenge them in court because the directive is not respecting the right to access public places and it is not constitutional. This would only work maybe if NMS had vaccinated all their staff and some had adamantly refused to comply. It shouldn’t apply to visitors,” he said.


Original article published by the Uganda Daily Monitor

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