Persons who fail to comply with a requirement for vaccination will be fined up to four million Shillings or a prison sentence of up to six months under a new bill tabled before parliament.
The Bill provides that in the event of the occurrence or outbreak of any disease that requires vaccination or revaccination for residents, a local government council shall issue a public notice requesting all persons to undergo inspection, vaccination and revaccination.
According to the Bill, a person who fails or neglects to comply with the requirement made under this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 20 currency points, which is equivalent to four million shillings, or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or both.
The same penalty is proposed for a parent or guardian who fails to present their child for vaccination within 12 months from birth.
The bill authored by the Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng was tabled before parliament by David Bahati, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Co-operatives.
“The object of this Bill is to amend the Public Health Act to repeal the obsolete provisions, to revise the fines for offences committed under the Act, to repeal the Venereal Diseases Act, and the Immunization Act 2017, among others.
It has now been referred to the Health Committee of Parliament for further scrutiny.
The Bill also requires a school to retain a copy of the certificate of immunization of every child who is admitted to the school.
Under the Bill, Government also requires giving of compulsory information or production of any document or other evidence required for the purpose of tracing the source, for purpose of preventing the spread of any infectious disease.
“A person who contravenes any rule made under this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred fifty currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, or both,” provides the Bill. 150 currency points are equivalent to 3 million Shillings.
The Bill follows a notification given to Parliament in December 2021 by Health Minister Aceng that she would table a proposed law on Public Health to provide for mandatory vaccination, wearing of masks and others.
Aceng made the statement while responding to different queries by Members of Parliament in regard to the government’s preparedness to combat the new COVID-19 variant – Omicron.
In her presentation to Parliament then, Aceng noted that her Ministry was preparing to table the Public Health Bill to cater for a number of issues including mandatory vaccination, wearing of face masks and penalties.