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COVID-19 Vaccination Kicks Off in Uganda

Uganda is planning to vaccinate 22 million people in a phased manner using the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The country has so received 964,000 vaccines some of which, according to the health ministry, have already been transported to all designated facilities by the National Medical Stores.
Minister Jane Ruth Aceng getting vaccinated

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The long-awaited COVID-19 vaccination has started with a national launch held at the Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital early today.  

Uganda is planning to vaccinate 22 million people in a phased manner using the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The country has so received 964,000 vaccines some of which, according to the health ministry, have already been transported to all designated facilities by the National Medical Stores.

In the first phase of the vaccination targeting high-risk priority groups, an estimated 150,000 health workers, 550,000 teachers and 250,000 security officers will get vaccinated. Other groups being targeted are 500,000 people with underlying conditions and 3.3 million people estimated to be above 18 years  

While speaking at the launch of the exercise, the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng urged Ugandans to stop listening to anti-vaccine messages that claim the vaccines are not safe. At the start of the exercise, the Minister got the first shot, followed by members of the diplomatic corps, doctors and other officials.

“These vaccines are safe and have shown to be effective in reducing the occurrence of severe cases of the disease or even death by over 80 per cent. People should embrace them and go get vaccinated when their turn comes,” Dr Aceng said.

Similarly, the ambassador of Hungary to Uganda, Dr Janos Terenyi asked people to stop spreading anti-vaccine messages and instead just get vaccinated. He said the vaccine is the only way countries can control the disease. Terenyi asked people complaining to 'shut up' and just get the jab.

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Besides the guests at the launch, several in-patients at Mulago Hospital and others took advantage of the lack of security to get immunized.  John Tendo Kaggwa, a 76-year-old resident of Masajja said that although he had gone to Mulago for a different matter, he could not let the opportunity pass.

Health workers who received the jab told URN that they were excited about the developement. Prof Rhoda Wanyenze, a member of the national vaccine committee and also a member of the ministerial COVID-19 Scientific committee said that she was happy she could get the jab.

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Dr Aceng says despite being vaccinated, all the SOPs will still need to be followed. For instance, she says travellers who have COVID-19 vaccination certificates will still have to undergo quarantine.


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As a result of today's excitement, many health workers and security officers put aside the need for social distancing during the ongoing pandemic to be able to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab. Many could be seen standing close to each other in a bid to get consent forms.

Some of the people URN spoke to intimated that they would only leave the queues after receiving their shots. Dr Simon Peter Apedo, one of several health workers waiting in line to get their jab said he was going to stand in line until he got his jab because the launch was a once in a lifetime chance to get the jab.

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The First Deputy Prime Minister General Moses Ali said the government is going to protect the vaccines against theft. He says security officers will be deployed during the transportation of the vaccines and at the vaccination sites to ensure that no vaccines go missing.

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