Uganda plans to start its first phase of vaccinations on March 10 after receiving the first batch of 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) facility. Subsequent phases will be rolled out when more doses become available.
Jane Ruth Aceng, the country’s Health minister, said priority will be based on occupational risk of infection, risk of developing severe diseases, death from Covid-19 and population characteristics. They will include health workers, security personnel, teachers and persons of advanced age with underlying health conditions. Others are journalists, airlines workers, prisoners, tour operators, immigration officers and humanitarian workers.
The second group will be teachers as the country embarks on gradual reopening of schools, the third will be those aged above 50 years and the final phase will be those between 18 and 50 years.
The ministry has not set a time frame on when each group will receive the jabs and Dr Aceng said “each category will be alerted when to report for vaccination.”
Vaccination will be carried out at Health centre IIIs, Health Centre IVs, general hospitals, regional and National Referral Hospitals.
A notice from the ministry will alert those eligible to report to their nearest health centres with their national identification cards for the first dose after which they will be presented with a vaccination certificate which they will have to show before receiving the second dose between eight to 12 weeks.
According to Dr Aceng, the country plans to vaccinate 22.9 million people and this will require about 45 million vials to be administered in two doses per person. To raise the required number of doses, the government is banking on several sources including direct buying and donations.
Uganda has already made a direct purchase of 18 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India with the first batch of 400,000 doses expected into the country mid this month.
The Covax facility to which Uganda is part has also promised a tentative allocation of 3,552,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with delivery initially planned between January and June this year. The 864,000 doses the country received last week are part of this batch.