What you need to know:
- The issue: Covid-19 vaccination.
- Our view: But the Ministry of Health and drivers of the vaccination campaign need to work more creatively to bring in the elderly “who would prefer the vaccines brought to their areas of abode.
The current upbeat mood among Ugandans to take up Covid-19 vaccines should be sustained. Among these have been cited frontline health workers, members of the armed forces, and teachers, who by the very nature of their trade, must interact with many people.
This contrasts sharply with our former hesitancy that had the country facing risk of throwing away the priceless vaccines that were due to expire.
This is why the quick reassurance by government that more 700,000 vaccines dedicated to teachers’ second dose are to arrive this week is calming. Some of the nearly 300,000 teachers had become restless as their time for the second shot had arrived. Some of these worried teachers, had by last week, started to frantically run from one vaccination centre to another in search of the Sinovac, which government said was out of stock.
Sinovac had specifically been ring-fenced in August for teachers as a priority group to work towards the eventual reopening of our learning institutions. Indeed, the teachers’ worries were genuine, and exacerbated by the warning by government that none of them would be allowed into schools without being vaccinated. We only need to remember that the teachers have been locked out of school for more than a year now.
Despite this disruption for the teaching fraternity, reports of a scramble for Covid-19 vaccines by both first-time and full-dose high priority groups is assuring. See ‘Covid-19 vaccines demand skyrockets in western’, Daily Monitor, October 19. This report points to our wananchi’s determined efforts to access the all-essential vaccines.
It also demonstrates that our people are eager to get the key sectors of our economy up and running again. The key here has been concerted rallying of thousands of members of Village Health Teams, and hundreds of village local council chairpersons, and well-designated vaccination centres, and mobilisation. As well, the high turnout and increasing uptake of Covid-19 vaccines has also caught on among the non-priority groups, especially the youth. See ‘Young people dominating Covid vaccination drive, Daily Monitor, October 19.
But the Ministry of Health and drivers of the vaccination campaign need to work more creatively to bring in the elderly “who would prefer the vaccines brought to their areas of abode. This group is vulnerable and yet lags behind other high priority groups of health and security workers, who are fully vaccinated.
An ingenious and easy way out would be to adopt what Dr Frederick Ssengooba of Makerere University has suggested, namely, using door-to-door vaccination campaign to reach out to the elderly. With all these done, we should soon be on our way to revising and easing more the lockdown restrictions.