Uganda: Govt Restricts Covid-19 Jab to Senior Citizens
The Ministry of Health has invited persons aged 70 years and above to go for Covid-19 vaccination.
In a joint press statement released by the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, said people aged 50 years and above remain a priority group for the exercise.
However, due to inadequate doses, government has decided to kick off with those who are 70 years and above.
“The Ministry of Health has, therefore, decided to begin vaccinating people aged 70 years and above against Covid-19. We call upon all that category to report to the health facilities and get their Covid-19 vaccine,” Dr Aceng said yesterday in a statement.
The number of those aged 50 years and above is estimated at more than 3.3 million, according to Ministry of Health.
Currently, Uganda has received a total of 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, of these 700,000 doses are for health workers and teachers. This newspaper on Wednesday learnt that 100,000 doses have been distributed to security forces (army, police and prisons).
Vaccination points have been established at national and regional referral hospitals, district hospitals health centre IVs and III’s.
A total of 663,520 doses of vaccine have been distributed to date. As of yesterday, a total of 7,920 people had received their first does of Covid-19 vaccine and majority of them being health workers.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health communicated that teachers will be vaccinated starting March 16 to 19, however as of yesterday, the vaccination of teachers had not kicked off.
“The first priority group to be vaccinated will be health workers… vaccination of health workers will take place between March 10 to 15, followed by teachers/lecturers from March 16 to March 19,” Dr Aceng said during the prelaunch of Covid-19 vaccination.
The Ministry of Education officials yesterday confirmed that vaccination of teachers had not yet kicked off.
The Health ministry explained that the slow pace of vaccination exercise is due to logistical and technological challenges in some districts, which are continuously being addressed.
Dr Aceng yesterday said both the vaccination of health workers and teachers/lecturers will now take place concurrently.
The other schedule for priority groups is to be communicated by government from time to time.
Government has also reiterated that Covid-19 vaccine is safe and its effective three weeks after an individual has received the first dose.
As a precautionary measure few countries, especially in the European Union have suspended use of AstraZeneca vaccine while full investigations are undertaken.
But WHO has recommended continuation of the vaccination exercise using AstraZeneca vaccine as its benefits continue to outweigh the reported risk.
“The concern is over a few cases of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) events that have been reported in some countries. As of 10 March 2021, 30 cases of DVT were reported to WHO among 5 million vaccinated cases in the European Union,” reads the joint statement in part.
DVT is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the legs
The number of suspected thromboembolic events in vaccinated people in not higher than what is seen in the general population and there is no evidence to state that the incidents of DVT and other thromboembolic events are caused by AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the joint press statement.
In Uganda, no serious adverse effects or deaths related to AstraZeneca vaccine have been reported.