Uganda to begin COVID-19 vaccination campaign on March 10

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ELEGU, UGANDA - 2020/05/28: A health worker dressed in a protective suit as a preventive measure collects swab samples from a truck driver to be tested for coronavirus at the Elegu border point. He will have to wait days for the result. Uganda closed its borders in March to everyone except cargo planes and truck drivers. (Photo by Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Uganda’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign will kick off on March 10 following the arrival of an initial batch of 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines on March 5, Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng announced on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A health worker collects swab samples from a truck driver to be tested for coronavirus at the Elegu border point. (Photo by Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Aceng, who spoke during a press conference, added that the campaign will take part in phases with the first phase targeting health workers first, then security personnel, teachers, and persons aged 50 years and above and those with underlying conditions aged 18-50 years old.

“This is because they (health care workers) are at the frontline in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and are vulnerable to infection as has been shown by the statistics of infection and death among health workers,” Aceng said.

According to the Health ministry, 1,892 Ugandan health care workers have been infected with Covid-19 while 19 have succumbed to the disease since the country reported its first case almost a year ago.

Aceng also specified that persons with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer and organ diseases such as liver, kidney or heart disease will be prioritised.

The government, Aceng said, will notify each category of persons of the dates when they are due to receive the vaccine with certain hospitals and institutions being designated as vaccination service points.

Uganda is hoping to vaccinate just under half of its population because government statistics indicate the eligible population, which is aged 18 and above, is about 49.6 percent.

Only persons aged 18 years and above are eligible for vaccination as the available vaccines are not yet authorized for use in persons younger than 18 years of age in whom research is still ongoing, Aceng noted.

“Uganda targets to vaccinate 49.6 percent of the population which is about 21,936,011 people, in a phased manner. Each phase is planned to cover 20 percent of the population which is about 4,387,202 people,” she said.

People who are eligible for vaccination will have to produce a means of identification: national identification cards for Ugandan citizens or passports for non-Ugandans.

As of March 2, Uganda has reported a total of 40,40,395 confirmed coronavirus cases and 334 deaths.

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