Arua parents reject Covid jabs for children

Vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. PHOTO/AFP

The implementation of the plans to vaccinate school children in Arua City against Covid-19 yesterday failed after parents reportedly rejected the drive. 

The initiative also contradicts last month’s Cabinet ban on the vaccination of children in schools. 
Mr Gift Amagule, the headmaster of Arua Hill Primary School, told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview that several parents came to the school in the morning and foiled any vaccination plans.

The move emanated from a June 30 letter that the head teacher wrote to the parents claiming there were plans by city authorities to have children take the jabs.

In his letter, Mr Amagule told parents that he had received another letter from the office of the mayor of Central Division, Arua City, ordering that all children between 12 and 17 years be vaccinated against Covid-19.

“The purpose of writing this letter is to inform you that all school children in that age bracket will be vaccinated on July 4 [yesterday], the date we have scheduled with Health department Arua City,” he said. 

Mr Amagule asked parents who were against the plan to come for “further guidance” at the school. 

“Around 40 parents came today [yesterday] in the morning and all of them voted against the orders from the mayor,” he said. 


Mr Amagule said he sent the letter to the parents because he was under a lot of pressure from the city leadership and the health office, a statement which city health officials later tagged as false. 

“The health people were sent to vaccinate children already, but I had to turn them back. I told them that we don’t have the mandate to let these children be vaccinated without the authority of the parents, the parents have the right to say no,” the headmaster said.

“I told them that children aged between 12 and 17 years, by Constitution, have no right to decide on their own. So I turned the health workers back,” he added.

The city mayor, Mr Sam Wadri Nyakua, referred our reporter to the city health officer, Dr Pontious Apangu, when asked about the vaccination orders. It was not clear whether it was only Arua Hill that was targeted. 

Dr Apangu on the other hand said they would not allow vaccination of children to take place on school premises because it contradicts orders from the Cabinet.

“We saw the letter on social media and convened a meeting which disowned that letter. We do not support that letter. If there is any vaccination of children, it should be during holidays and with the consent of parents or guardians,”  he said.