Rwanda issued a federal mandate this week requiring all citizens and residents of the country to show proof of full Chinese coronavirus vaccination before they are allowed into any public spaces or events, Rwanda’s New Times newspaper reported Thursday.
“All citizens and Rwandan residents are required to get fully vaccinated in order to access public spaces and events,” the newspaper relayed on January 27, citing a Rwandan government edict issued after a meeting on the matter on January 26.
Thursday’s announcement further urged Rwandans and people living in the country to “when eligible, get booster shots” of Chinese coronavirus vaccines. A “booster shot” is an additional dose of an inoculation administered after completion of the vaccine’s full series.
The New Times noted on January 27 that Rwanda’s federal vaccine requirement represented an expansion of a previous such mandate, which until this week was limited to “specific places,” such as “crowded areas … like markets, places of worship, restaurants and bars among others.”
“[W]e won’t allow people who are not vaccinated to attend large gatherings in public places,” Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente told his country’s Parliament in December 2021.
A number of Rwandan citizens recently accused Rwandan police officers and local government officials of using “force” to vaccinate them against their will with Chinese coronavirus inoculations. German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) reported the allegations on January 18 after interviewing several Rwandans anonymously.
Members of a Pentecostal church in western Rwanda’s Ngororero district told DW they were targeted by Rwanda’s government after rejecting Chinese coronavirus inoculation efforts by the state.
“Those with resistance are sensitized and vaccinated afterwards because even right now we have many who are not yet vaccinated,” Ngororero District Mayor Christopher Nkusi told DW on January 18 when asked about the Pentecostal church’s allegations.
“We are still in the process of sensitizing them,” Nkusi said.
A man from Rwanda’s eastern Rwamagana district told DW he recently fled his village with his wife after feeling persecuted by local governemnt officials for choosing not to receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccination.
“I was suffering from malaria and taking […] medication. I begged them not to vaccinate me. When they insisted, we fled our home,” the man said.
“There have been media reports of some vaccine skeptics fleeing the country, but officials have said that is pointless because even the countries where they fled to have taken measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus], including vaccine rollout,” the New Times acknowledged on January 27.