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Uganda’s proposed new law will see anti-vaxxers face fines or six months in jail

Uganda has proposed new and harsh penalties for anti-vaxxers in a new bill that is still under consideration of the parliament as the country attempts to crack down on its Covid-19 vaccine mandate. On Tuesday, a parliamentary health committee stated that it plans to propose legislation to fine or imprison unvaccinated residents. The proposal introduces a fine against those who do not get vaccinated of Shs 4 million, the equivalent of $1,137 or a prison sentence of six months. Uganda, a country of 45 million, has administered roughly 16 million Covid vaccines since it began its vaccination campaign against the virus in March of last year. The country has, however, grappled with a series of lockdowns in an attempt to manage the pandemic amid misinformation campaigns and widespread hesitancy towards the vaccine.

Just last month, Ugandan businesses opened for the first time after two years of severe containment measures that resulted in the closure of trading activities, schools, businesses, and other public spaces. More than 15 million Ugandan students’ studies were disrupted by the lockdowns, described by the UN as the longest disruption of educational institutions globally due to the pandemic. Ugandan Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng stated that the 4 million Ugandan shilling fine was designed to push anti-vaxxers to receive the vaccine and prevent the spread of the virus.

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