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MOH Disregards Call for Ring-Fencing COVID-19 Jabs for Health Workers

As of today, according to MOH figures, only 47,165 out of an estimated 150,000 health workers have been fully vaccinated countrywide despite them being the first lot for the government to prioritize for vaccination when the jabs first arrived in the country early in March.

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Health workers that are not yet vaccinated have made the choice not to get COVID-19 jabs, and the government does not have any special arrangement for their vaccination.

As of today, according to MOH figures, only 47,165 out of an estimated 150,000  health workers have been fully vaccinated countrywide despite them being the first lot for the government to prioritize for vaccination when the jabs first arrived in the country early in March.

Dr Alfred Driwale, the Programme Manager Expanded Programme on Immunization at the Ministry of Health (MOH)  says that they have so far vaccinated more teachers and elderly people of 50 years and above than health workers.

In order to bring more health workers on board, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) had proposed that the Ministry of Health should Ringfence does for the vaccination of health workers as one of the ways for tackling vaccine hesitancy. UMA president, Dr Richard Idro told URN that this was thought to be one of the strategies for the government to reach as many of them as possible. 

But Dr Driwale said that health workers had all the opportunities to get the jab since they were categorised as a priority group and disregarded calls to ring-fence doses for health workers. He confirms that 387,135 Ugandans have now fully been vaccinated with two doses.

//Cue in; “ If we have healthcare…

Cue out….pushing us into”. //  

Dr Driwale noted  that vaccines are being supplied through local governments  and that they have already received complaints from hospitals that some medical workers  are holding  a solidarity move urging their colleagues not to get vaccinated. He said the habit is mostly prevalent in Kampala and among some very high profile doctors.

//Cue in; “Vaccines which we…

Cue out…within Kampala largely.”//

The move to ring-fence doses for vaccination of key the population was recently seen among teachers who were allocated special places within the city by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) where they can exclusively access their jabs. By Friday, 70,241 teachers had been fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, as pockets of health workers remain hesitant to get vaccinated, Dr Andrew Kambugu who chairs the health workforce committee on the COVID-19 National Taskforce warns them to beware that emerging evidence that shows that unvaccinated people don’t stop at only being at risk of falling critically ill with COVID-19. 

He says they now know that the unvaccinated are also more at risk of suffering from severe forms of long-term COVID syndromes where an individual clears COVID-19 but may suffer severe organ damage.

In terms of general  vaccine stocks, Driwale says that they have enough to cover all health workers and they expect a big flow of doses in September. Starting then, the country will be receiving in batches the 9 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines. In October, they will again start receiving the 18 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China which will be accessed through the COVAX facility.

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