What you need to know:
...the Health ministry should go back to the drawing board and strategise on how to work efficiently with their partner ministry, and more importantly, how to win the trust of the population.
Over a month ago, we wrote in this section about the planned Covid-19 vaccination for children that the Ministry of health and Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunisation were intent on carrying out.
We wrote about how more research needed to be done and how there needs to be sensitising and encouraging parents and guardians to embrace the plan if indeed, everything points to our children remaining safe.
A month later, the ministry and UNEPI have still kept their stance with no solid proof to have parents be at peace, and no visible awareness campaign.
The two are now locking horns with the ministry of education over whether the vaccination planned for August will be optional or mandatory.
The Education ministry, according to an article, ‘Health Education ministries clash over vaccination of children against Covid’ in the May 23 edition of Daily Monitor, has said the ministry of health must get a letter of consent from parents and guardians before vaccinating children. They also state that parents are free to have their children opt out for whatever reason. The Health ministry insists though that all children will be vaccinated with or without parents’ permission.
The same ministry has however faced some resistance from Parliament with some MPs saying research has shown that children are not at much risk, and that forcefully vaccinating them all would be a waste of resources. Others have however said it is important to keep the whole country safe from Covid-19 and so the children too must be vaccinated.
UNEPI and the ministry of Health risk losing the trust of the people if they do not take into consideration their queries, concerns and beliefs. worldwide, providing awareness of such campaigns as well as involving citizens in making some of these decisions has been shown to provide greater success than throwing one’s weight around. In the midst of such resistance, the Health ministry should go back to the drawing board and strategise on how to work efficiently with their partner ministry, and more importantly, how to win the trust of the population.
Health experts warn of likely dangers of inoculating children against Covid
They can, for example, have committees created in different regions in schools to get feedback from parents about the planned vaccination. Thereafter they can determine what is necessary to convince parents about the jabs for their children and work around that, whether that means doing more research and sharing the data efficiently, or pushing the date forward to give all parties time to come to a consensus. These steps and others are more likely to make their job easier and better still get the population to appreciate rather than resist them.