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Covid19 Vaccination Starts Next Week

Covid19 vaccination will start in Uganda next week, with all those to be vaccinated required to produce a national ID.

In the following statement, Dr Aceng gives details of the vaccination exercise:

The arrival of the initial batch of 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines will be on the 5th of March 2021 and vaccination scheduled to begin on the 10Uganda targets to vaccinate 49.6% of the population which is about 21,936,011 people, in a phased manner. Each phase is planned to cover 20% of the population which is about 4,387,202 people. The eligible population lies in the age range of 18 years and above.

Phase 1 of the vaccination exercise will focus on:

• Health workers (Public, Private Not for Profit (PNFP) and Private for Profit (PFP)) estimated at 150,000

• Security personnel (UPDF, Police, Prisons); estimated at 250,000

• Teachers (Public and Private) among other essential social service providers; 550,000

• Persons from the age 50 years and above, estimated at 3,348500

• Persons with underlying health conditions aged below 50 years, estimated at 500,000

The first to be vaccinated will be health workers.

This is because they are at the frontline in the response to the COVID19 pandemic and are vulnerable to infection as has been shown by the statistics of infection (1,892) and death among health workers (19).

The second group will be the teachers. All Teachers will be required to access vaccines from the nearest Public Health facility starting from HC III up to a National Referral Hospital.

The third category will be all persons above 50 years of age. The next category eligible for vaccination are the 18 to 50-year olds who have the following underlying health conditions: hypertension, Diabetes, cancer, organ diseases such as Liver, Kidney or heart disease.

Each category will be alerted on the days on which to report for vaccination.

In Phases 2 and 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination program, the Ministry will roll out the vaccination program to age groups between 18 and 50 years in a staggered manner until 49.6% of the Ugandan population is vaccinated. This will be guided by the local epidemiology of the March 2021. COVID-19 vaccines are new and additional information keeps emerging to guide the planning for vaccination; this includes the criteria for targeting population groups.

The reduction is the result of the adjustment of target age group from 16 to 18 years for the AstraZeneca vaccine and the young population structure of Uganda where only 49.6% are above 18 years of age.

The vaccines available up to now are not yet authorized for use in persons younger than 18 years of age in whom research is still ongoing. If vaccines become available for below the age of 18, the Ministry will update its plan accordingly and inform the public.

Vaccination start date and access

Vaccination will begin on the 10th March 2021. All persons eligible for vaccination will be required to provide a National Identification Card in the case of Ugandan citizens or a passport in the case of non-Ugandans.

Government Health center IIIs, IVs, District Hospitals, Regional Referral, National Referral Hospitals and specialized Institutions have been designated as vaccination service points in each district and City.Eligible persons will access their vaccines from any of these points.

Vaccines will be given to eligible persons 8 weeks apart (56 days). However, this can be extended up to 12 weeks as recommended by WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunizations.

The COVID-19 vaccine is given intramuscularly on the left upper arm – 0.5mls each.

A team of well-trained health workers will be based at the designated service points to provide services.

The Ministry of Health will issue a statutory instrument as is required by the Public Health Act and the immunization Act 2016 for emerging and re-emerging epidemics to guide the vaccination process.

Vaccination will be voluntary upon signing a consent form and will be free of charge.

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