Ugandan authorities are seeking to legally mandate vaccines in draft legislation aimed at boosting the East African country’s drive to inoculate more people against COVID-19.
The proposed bill, which is subject to changes as it faces scrutiny by a parliamentary health committee, calls for a six-month jail term for failure to comply with vaccination requirements during disease outbreaks.
However, in January, Uganda’s health minister announced that more than 400,000 vaccine doses were to be destroyed after they expired before being used.
President Yoweri Museveni had warned last year that local officials would be held accountable for any expired doses, putting pressure on them to administer substantial batches of vaccines that often arrived with looming expiration dates.
In Uganda, which has reported more than 162,000 virus cases, the U.S. alone has donated 11 million vaccine doses apart of a wave of charity toward developing countries whose leaders have accused rich nations of hoarding vaccine doses at their expense.
Also, African nations such as Zimbabwe and Ghana have announced vaccine mandates for public employees and others.
Meanwhile, only six of Africa’s 54 countries had met the global target of vaccinating 40% of their populations against COVID-19 by the end of 2021, according to the World Health Organization.