Govt reinstates debate on vaccination of children

Vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Several health experts have come out to say children are in no way at risk of death from Covid-19 with their mortality rate at 0.25%. 

Ministry of Health has indicated that discussions are still underway to roll out a mass vaccination programme targeting all schoolgoing children as the ministry signals return of Covid-19.

Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, said they are working with its counterparts in the Education ministry to come up with a way forward.

In an interview with the Monitor yesterday, Mr Ainebyoona said they will communicate the outcomes of their discussions. 

“The two line ministries are still having engagements and will communicate when [to commence vaccination in schools],” he indicated.

In March, officials at the Ministry of Health announced plans to start vaccinating all children aged between 12 and 17 against Covid-19 to contain the pandemic.

Their primary aim was to cut transmission and infections as opposed to fighting severe illness, among the youngsters. 
The move has already caused an uproar among some sections of society, with some parents and vaccine sceptics opposing it.

At the weekend, the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, tweeted about the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.
“We have started experiencing an increase in the daily number of Covid-19 cases compared to the stable trends we observed since January 2022.This increase is similar to the rise we faced in June 2021 when the delta variant was prevalent,” she tweeted.

In the daily Covid-19 updates released on June 4, the Health ministry indicated that there were 35 new cases registered, with no clarification as to whether some of them were children.

Accusation

Meanwhile, former presidential aspirant and leader of the national economic empowerment dialogue (NEED), Mr Joseph Kabuleta, yesterday accused the Ministry of Health of hatching a secret plan to roll out mass vaccination of teenagers without the knowledge of the parents.

“Through our sources at the Ministry of Health, I know that they are planning a mass vaccination of all teenagers in schools from June 15 to 20 and they don’t want parental consent. They just want to invade schools and inoculate those children without any knowledge or consent of the parents,” he claimed during the weekly press conference yesterday.

Several health experts have come out to say children are in no way at risk of death from Covid-19 and the mortality rate is at 0.25 percent for children because they have a strong natural immunity that stands to be threatened by the vaccines.

Mr Kabuleta accuses the Ministry of Health of working against the greater benefit of Uganda because of a few errant individuals with selfish motives, a claim that the ministry has rubbished.

“It is absurd for the government to pretend that they care about our children more than we do, if all fails, pick your children from school before June 15 then return them on June 21 to safeguard them,” Mr Kabuleta said.

He called upon parents to caution respective schools against allowing the children to be vaccinated without parental consent.

Approximately three weeks ago, the two ministries clashed over the proposed vaccination of school going children, which the Health ministry insisted on rolling out as the first lady, Ms Janet Museveni, cautioned against withdrawal of parental consent.

The ministry of education and sports also warned that no parent or child should be penalised when they choose not to be vaccinated.

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