By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
On March 10, 2021, Uganda launched the COVID-19 vaccination campaign after getting over 946,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The campaign started at a slow pace as Ugandans were sceptical about its efficacy and their concerns were not helped by the circulating reports at the time, of the vaccine causing blood clots in some people.
After intensifying the get-vaccinated campaign by the Ministry of Health accompanied with the vaccination of high profile people like President Yoweri Museveni, the First Lady Janet Museveni, the First Son Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Kabaka Ronald Mutebi, Ministers and Members of Parliament among others, the exercise picked up the pace but still not as fast as the Ministry of Health had projected.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, 472,617 people have so far received the first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine in Uganda as of May 18, 2021. Now that this is almost half the number of the total doses the country received, the Ministry has now started administering the second dose of the vaccine to all those who received the first dose about eight to 12 weeks ago.
The Ministry used its social media to announce and encourage people to get their second dose from the nearby designated health facilities.
“The Strategic Committee of COVID19 of Ministry of Health in consultation with Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) discussed and resolved that all persons who received the 1st dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and have completed between eight to 12 weeks should visit a designated health facility and receive the 2nd dose,” the Ministry tweeted.
The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kuteesa are some of the high profile people that have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
When President Museveni addressed the country last month in response to people who were asking for the full reopening of the country and do away with restrictions like the 9 pm curfew and the continued closure of bars and concerts, he said that this decision will be taken, or thought of after the country has fully vaccinated at least 6 million people.
With less than half a million people vaccinated, it looks like it is going to take some time for everything to go back to normal.