In a move to encourage high intake of vaccines, President Yoweri Museveni in his new year message directed that all passengers of public transport especially buses and taxis must move with the vaccination cards, or else be denied services.
The same has been seen ahead of schools reopening – teachers being asked by their employers to get vaccinated and move with their vaccination cards.
The chairperson of the Buganda education board Deborah Zawedde while speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Mengo said that she’s also heard of forged vaccination cards even among teachers. ‘’Vaccinations cards are being forged, but I encourage all teachers and students to go get vaccinated and not forge cards,’ Zawedde said.
Cabinet approved a recommendation to block unvaccinated people from accessing public places and services.
“We (cabinet) approved a recommendation from the Ministry of Health to extend the vaccination mandate to different categories of workers. A vaccine mandate means if you are not vaccinated, businesses, schools or workspaces and others can legally stop you from accessing their services if they choose to,” Dr. Chris Baryomunsi told a press briefing on December 23rd 2021 at Uganda media center.
All this has promoted some members of the public to settle for forged vaccination cards. We set out to find out where forged vaccination cards are emanating from, and word led us to Nasser road. A busy street in Kampala that houses a number of shops, some popularly known for forging credentials and documents.
We entered one of the buildings and inquired about the services we wanted – a forged vaccination card. Two young men welcomed us.
‘The card will be ready in about 20 minutes,’ one of the men said to us as he demanded for money to be paid first before he produced the card.
At only 45,000 shs we had received a vaccination card that looks exactly like the original card.
According to the ministry of health, an authentic vaccination card bears a unique serial number, batch numbers of the shots taken, and a seal or stamp.
Surprisingly, the forged vaccination card had all these elements. Even more shocking – the vaccination card also had 2 forged stamps of Mengo hospital, signed with different blue-ink pens, in different handwritings. The card also had an Astra Zeneca lot seal with a fake bar code because it couldn’t be scanned.
Fred Byamukama, State Minister for Transport has told Nile Post that the government is developing a technological measure to end cases of forgery of covid-19 vaccination cards.
‘It will be useless to forge a vaccination card, because the ministry of ICT is developing an application, where you’ll inPut figures written on the card and it’ll tell whether the card is genuine or not,’ Byamukama said.
In Hoima, the case is different. It is the health workers selling vaccination cards at 20,000 shs to non-vaccinated people. They were nabbed and will be charged in court.
‘We have arrested two health workers and a cleaner who were selling vaccination cards between shs.20,000 and shs.50,000. We have arrested and yet to decide what charges to press against them,’ ASP Julius Hakiza, the spokesperson for the Albertine region, told Nile Post.
The health ministry created an online portal, but it still has its challenges. A big section of the public is still unable to access their covid-19 certificates. Those forging vaccination cards, do it for convenience, however – it raises concern about whether the new standard operating procedures from the government can be followed.