By Simon Abaho
President Museveni has today Tuesday, received a Covid-19 vaccine booster, State House has said.
In a photo tweeted by the Senior Presidential Press Secretary, Linda Nabusayi, Museveni was being injected by the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine.
“My doctors, Dr. Diana Atwine and Dr.Magoba an army officer, have just given me a booster dose. According to my statement during the New Year speech, I told you that efforts we are going to rely on to open the economy were; full vaccination for people aged 18 years and above who are about 22million, but also booster doses for the 3.3million people above the age of 50 years, a constituency were I very rightly fit.
I am now 50+27 – 77 years. We said that this group should get a booster dose. But also, the ones below 50 but with problems like diabetes, blood pressure, cancers etc those ones should get a booster dose,” Museveni said shortly after his vaccination.
The president appealed to Ugandans to get fully vaccinated to beat the virus and reopen the economy fully.
“I really appeal to everybody to do the needful. If you belong to this group of 50+ get a booster dose. If 18 and above get vaccinated fully. Dr. Atwine brought another clan of doses and said clan mixing is good. Now Atwine has said that for the booster to work well, get another clan. I was vaccinated two times with AstraZeneca, now I have got a Pfizer booster dose.
That when you do that, you get more mobilization of immunity and resistance and against the virus for the body. Please get the two vaccines if you are 18 years and then the ones above 50 years or below 50 but with comorbidities get a booster,” he said.
Museveni said he has got reports that even with new Omicron virus, people who have been vaccinated two times quickly overcome it.
“Please this is not a joke. All must get up and be vaccinated,” he said.
The Ugandan president has got his Pfizer booster dose almost ten months after his first COVID-19 dose to improve immunity following the outbreak of the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
By getting the Covid booster shot, Museveni is among the few world leaders who have done the same.
In September last year, US President Joe Biden received a Covid-19 vaccine booster as a way of encouraging citizens to follow suit.
The Ministry of Health recently noted that Ugandans above the age of 50 are eligible to get a Covid booster shot and that three types of vaccines are considered for mixing and matching for the Ugandan population.
According to the ministry, viral vector vaccines which contain instructions for making coronavirus antigens which include AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson can be mixed whereas mRNA vaccines which use a code from SARS CoV2 to prompt an immune response in recipients including Pfizer and Moderna can be mixed.
On the other side, inactivated vaccines where the SARS CoV2 is inactivated or killed using chemicals, heat or radiation like Sinopharm and Sinovac are free to be mixed.
Of the 22million targeted people, 45% which translates into 9.9million have received at least one shot of the vaccine whereas 17% have been fully vaccinated.
Amid the growing concern over the Omicron variant of Covid, some members of the public have asked government to allow booster shots to those eligible in reaction to reports that Omicron spreads faster than its predecessor, Delta.
Reports also say the new variant is more likely to infect people who were not vaccinated or had COVID in the past.
In some countries, the wait time for the Covid vaccine booster shots has been reduced from six months to as low as three months as a way of warding off the new surge in infections from Omicron variant.