By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus - The Ministry of Health has announced that Uganda is slated to start COVID-19 vaccination next week after the due arrival of 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines on Friday.
Whilst talking to journalists on Tuesday about the deployment plan, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng explained that the drugs are part of 3.5 million doses that are expected from the COVAX facility, an entity set up by the World Health Organization and GAVI the Vaccines Alliance to guarantee equitable access to the drug by all countries.
Besides, according to the minister, it is expected that by the end of the year, the country will have received 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the facility.
Delivery will be in two doses of 0.5mls each in a space of eight to twelve weeks. The doses will initially be administered to health workers in both government and private hospitals whereby vaccination centers will be established at the government’s health centre IIIs, IVs, and hospitals across the country.
As it is, only health workers that have National IDs or passports for non–Ugandans will access the vaccine, and subsequently, their names will be cleared using a computer application to avoid any anomalies.
Addressing fears of the vaccines ending up in the wrong hands, the minister said they are using the army and police to guard the logistics which will be coordinated by an online system that will balance daily usage.
To date, a total of 1,892 health workers have been infected with COVID-19, and nine have succumbed to the virus. After the vaccination of an estimated 150,000 health workers, the ministry will vaccinate teachers and the security operatives and those of advanced age will follow.
Across-the-board, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine says UGX582 billion is expected to be spent on the entire exercise that targets to cover 49% of the population in Uganda aged 18 years and above.
Presently, the ministry is training health workers that will be involved in the exercise after which each district will be allocated teams of 30 health workers for the exercise.