What you need to know:
- Warning. “Experts tell us there is likely to be a second wave in about three to four months, the launch of the vaccination, therefore, is timely to protect the country against this anticipated wave,” Mr Moses Ali, the First Deputy Prime Minister.
More than 300 individuals from different priority groups yesterday received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine as Uganda started the long-awaited vaccination drive.
Dr Ruth Jane Aceng, the Health minister, was the first person to receive the first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine to assure the public that the vaccine is safe.
Dr Rosemary Byanyima, the deputy director of Mulago National Referral Hospital, said 280 people were vaccinated at Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal hospital while 30 people were vaccinated at Entebbe during the launch.
A total of 310 people were vaccinated.
Ministry of Health had earlier communicated that they were to begin with health workers at Mulago hospital and Entebbe Regional Referral hospital although different categories of people who attended the launch at Mulago were given the chance to be vaccinated.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said since it was launching day, all categories of people from priority groups were allowed to vaccinate.
“Today is the launch, that is why we have representatives of the priority groups vaccinated, the official commencing of vaccinating health workers has started today but most centres will begin tomorrow (today),” he said.
The participants were required to present their National Identification cards and to fill the consent form before vaccination and upon completion of taking the first dose, they were issued with vaccination cards. The consent form consisted of screening questions, as well as the risks and benefits of the vaccine.
While launching the vaccination, Mr Moses Ali, the First Deputy Prime Minister, asked eligible Ugandans to participate in the process but also continue observing standard operating procedures.
“Experts tell us there is likely to be a second wave in about three to four months, the launch of the vaccination, therefore, is timely to protect the country against this anticipated wave,” Mr Ali said.
Some of the officials who took part in the vaccination are Mr Massimiliano Mazzanti, the Italian ambassador to Uganda, Mr Rudi Veestraeten, the Belgium Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Patrick Bitature, a member of the Advisory Committee on Vaccines, Entebbe Hospital Medical superintendent Moses Muwanga, and Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, the chairperson of National Drug Authority. Other individuals included journalists, prison officers, and dignitaries.
“I am here to witness the fact that this vaccine is safe, whether you are a muzungu or Ugandan, you have to take the shot. Vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic. I was very eager to take it, the shot is very quick, not painful. I just took it two minutes ago,” Mr Mazzanti said.
Some of the nurses, however, did not fully participate yesterday saying they will be involved tomorrow (today).
“Well, let us give a chance to other people today. You can see the turnout is not bad, for us, we shall have an opportunity,” one of the nurses said.
Dr Yonas Woldemariam, the World Health Organisation country representative, said more research is being done to establish how long the vaccine can protect an individual.
“For now, the research indicates six to eight months but as more evidence comes, we will know how far it can protect,” Dr Woldemariam said.