The very first batch of publicly accessible but prioritized COVID-19 vaccines are set to arrive in Uganda on Friday March 5, courtesy of the WHO-run COVAX facility.
The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said they expect to receive 864,000 doses of the vaccines from the global program whose aim is to ensure that vaccines reach everywhere regardless of a country’s economic standing.
But Minister Aceng warned the public not to be complacent and stop observing the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as social distancing and wearing of masks because the vaccine does not prevent someone from getting infected.
“The vaccine only protects against severe disease and death…..if you are vaccinated then you may not progress to get the severe disease but you can still get infected depending on what you do, your interactions, your going to crowded places, your occupation,” Aceng said
She stressed that this is why the ministry is emphasizing the fact that people need to continue with the SOPs because the vaccine only protects against severe disease and death.
However the minister was quick to add that the vaccine protects the rapid spread because if a majority of the population are vaccinated then their chances of spreading it, are reduced.
The national vaccination exercise is set to be launched on March 10, and will target health workers in both public, private and non-governmental organizations.
The second group of the population to be vaccinated shall be teachers, followed by security service providers.
The Minister says that they expect at least 3,552,000 doses from the COVAX facility between Jan and June 2021. The COVAX Vaccine, due to the fact that it’s coming early, will be given to health workers.
Later vaccines such as the ones being purchased by the government will be given to other categories of the population aged 18 years and above.
“The current molecules are only being researched in 18 years and above so research is undergoing in children (0-18years ) so until we have clear statistics and guidance from WHO we cannot go ahead to give them vaccines”-Aceng explained.
The Vaccine will be accessed at the government health centre III, IVs, District Hospitals, Regional referral and National Referral Hospitals upon presentation of a national ID or passport for non-Ugandans.