Last month, authorities at National Medical Stores (NMS) banned all staff and visitors who are not vaccinated from accessing the store premises in a move to curb the spreading of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the statement published on 15th October, officials said visitors will have to first present proof of full vaccination before admission into the NMS premises (including cars).
“As a government agency mandated to buy, store and distribute medicines (including Covid-19 vaccines), we are leading by example and ensuring that all our staff and visitors coming to our premises are fully vaccinated to comply with the President’s directive on full Covid-19 vaccination. We, therefore, expect all our staff and visitors to comply with these new measures to avoid any inconveniences,’’ NMS spokesperson Sheila Nduhukire stated in a press release issued on 15th last month.
In the same spirit, last week the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among directed that starting from November, 2021 all Members of Parliament will have to present their vaccination certificates to access the House.
“And next week, one thing we need to inform the members is that Covid-19 is still there and we should still continue maintaining the SOPs. Therefore, from next week we will require members to come with their vaccination cards. We want to confirm that members have been vaccinated let us be the example. We need vaccination cords for us to see that members are vaccinated we want to pass the message to the whole country.”
Still on Monday this week, the National Drug Authority (NDA) also issued a statement that effective from 15th this month, no person will be allowed to access its premises without either a negative test for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) taken at least 72 hours or a covid-19 vaccination card.
However, yesterday the Minister for Presidency Milly Babalanda through her Twitter handle noted that no Ugandan should be denied services, especially from public offices on grounds that they are not vaccinated.
In a tweet, the minister noted that she had received concerns that some Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and Resident City Commissioners (RCCs) were denying services to the unvaccinated.
“I have received concerns that some RDCs/RCCs are denying services to the unvaccinated. Accordingly, I wish to allay public fear. Nobody should be denied services due to their vaccination status (for now). The job of RDCs/RCCs is to mobilize the public to get their jabs. BMB,” the tweet read.
Babalanda’s caution came just a few weeks when people from areas like Soroti had started complaining of their RDC, Mr. Peter Pex Paak, who had put a notice in his office directing all people who wanted to access him to present evidence of vaccination.
On the legal basis, such directives are null and void, according to constitutional lawyer Peter Walubiri. He says denying Ugandans access to public offices to attain services would mean that they have contravened Article 20 of the Constitution which states that (1) Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual are inherent and not granted by the State. (2) The rights and freedoms of the individual and groups enshrined in this Chapter shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons.
“This means there are many lines and articles in the Constitution that Parliament and other institutions refusing unvaccinated people are not taking under consideration,” he said.
Currently, 3.27 million doses have been given while 584,066 people have been fully vaccinated.
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