The government has announced that Covid-19 vaccination will resume today and that medical students will be prioritised in this third rollout of vaccines to allow for the reopening of medical schools.
Thie resumption of vaccination comes more than a week after the government received additional donations of 586,080 doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The jabs comprised 300,000 doses of Sinovac from the Chinese government and 286,080 doses of AstraZeneca from global sharing initiative –Covax.
The vaccination exercise was halted last month after the 175,200 doses of Astrazeneca that the French government had donated to the country was exhausted within few days amid a large number of people who are due for the second dose.
The huge demand for Covid-19 vaccines is being attributed to increasing numbers of deaths and people get sensitised about the importance of embracing the vaccination.
According to a notice from the Ministry of Health yesterday, in the vaccination exercise that will resume today, Kampala will have 32 vaccination points to allow for easy access to vaccines.
Of these, Nakawa Division and Lubaga Division will each have 8 vaccination points, Central division and Makindye will each have five vaccination sites while Kawempe will have six vaccination points.
The Ministry of Health spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, referred this reporter to Dr Alfred Driwale, the head of the immunisation programme at the Ministry for details on the resumption.
But Dr Driwale couldn’t give comments by press time as he asked the reporter to call back later.
Prof David Sserwadda, the head of scientists advising the government on vaccine access and deployment, told this reporter that the Sinovac vaccine will be given to those who are coming for the first dose because there is no scientific data that can make them recommend for use as second dose for those who received Astrazeneca as their first dose.
The majority of people who are so far vaccinated are due for the second dose. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister, while receiving the donated vaccines two weeks ago, said the country is concerned about the high number of those who need the second dose.
She said of the total of 1,143,763 people who have been vaccinated in the country, 902,992 received one dose and 240,771 received the two doses and this means their immunity against the virus is less effective.
The country has so far vaccinated more than 1.1 million people against the target of vaccinating at least 21.9 million to safely reopen the economy.
“This points to the widening gap of individuals due for second doses and the larger Ugandan population that needs to be inoculated yet we have inadequate vaccines in the country,” she said.
The government’s priority was to direct the few doses to people who are considered more vulnerable to Covid-19, and this was about five million people and that medical students will be prioritised.
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) executive director, Prof Mary Okwakol, in her August 5 letter said the inter-ministerial meeting held on August 4 agreed to reopen medical schools for final year students on Friday this week and that the rest of the learners will join in a staggered manner.
The decision to reopen medical schools follows a directive by President Museveni, who had asked the Ministry of Education, Health and NCHE to meet and consider safe reopening of the medical schools.
President Museveni last week said the exception for medical schools was in view of fact that the schools are a source of producing human resource for the health sector.
“Medical students are considered part and parcel of the earlier inaugural programme for vaccination of health workers. Students are, therefore, advised to get vaccinated as vaccines become available,” Prof Okwakol said.