Unvaccinated staff blocked from accessing Ministry of Health premises

A health worker administers Covid-19 vaccine recntly. Authorities at the Ministry of Health have blocked staff who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from accessing their premises. PHOTO/ FILE

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

According to a notice by the Director-General of Health Services, Dr Henry Mwebesa dated October 18, 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 held on the 5th October 2021, it was resolved that staff who are not fully vaccinated must not access the Ministry premises,” the notice reads in part.

It continues: “Accordingly, all staff must get vaccinated and shall show results whenever coming to work.  This takes immediate effect.”

The move by the Ministry of Health 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 Ministry of Health have not come out to complain, legal experts say the directive violates their right to access, specifically for visitors.

Mr 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 to 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.

Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi, however, said “It is catered for under Article 23 (1) (d). Article 23 (1) (d) stipulates that, “No person shall be deprived of personal liberty except in any of the follow; (d) for the purpose of preventing the spread of an infectious or contagious disease;”

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