Front line workers encouraged to take COVAX

By Moses Kidandi

The Ministry of Health is warning that as the expiry date of the COVID-19 vaccines draws closer the vaccines are slowly running out of stalk.

In a bid to avert the current threat of new strains of COVID-19, State minister for primary Health care Joyce Kaduchu is encouraging the public especially front line workers to take advantage of the less than one million doses left and go for vaccination.

Despite a low turn up,health workers are being encouraged to go for the jab which she says is safe like any other Vaccines to avoid a worse scenario of a likely second out break.

Ministry of health asked to intensify COVAX sensitization

By Phiona Namutebi

The Ministry of Health has been asked to intensify COVID-19 vaccination sensitization among the selected groups in order to improve response.

At a press conference, Olivia Kituyi the Councillor for Older Persons Kampala Central Division said that some of the older persons deep down in villages have no idea about the vaccination exercise that’s why there is low turn up.

Kituyi noted that, as leaders for older persons, they have tried their best to sensitize the elderly but there is a gap that has to be filled by Ministry of Health because they older people trust it more than their leaders.

Kituyi also added that even the little who know about it are scared of getting vaccinated because of the false information they get from rumors about the COVID-19 vaccine therefore this calls for more attention to teach the older persons on how good the vaccine is good for their lives.

Kituyi also sighted scarcity of Geriatricians (health specialists for older persons) as the major cause of the poor health status for older persons in Uganda.

She said that health specialists for the elderly are few in the country yet the elderly are many that is why they fail to address them which hinders appropriate medication.

Even the few geriatricians who exist are so expensive making it hard for the elderly to access them and they end up living a sickly life.

Legislators get COVAX jabs

By Alice Lubwama

The vaccination exercise against COVID-19 at parliament has registered a high turn up of current legislators, MP-elects, Parliamentary staff and journalists.

The two day vaccination exercise which commenced this morning is being conducted by the health Officials from Kampala Capital city Authority and ministry health.

While launching the exercise the state minister for health in charge of General Duties Robinah Nabanja applauded MPs for accepting to get vaccinated.

Adjumani West MP also the 1st Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali was among the first people to be vaccinated.

He has encouraged Ugandans to embrace the vaccination since this is the only way they will survive the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Other Ministers vaccinated today include the Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuzi, State minister for Environment Beatrice Anywar, state minister for Sports Hamson Obua among others j

Some of the MPs who have been vaccinated expressed happiness after vaccination and called Ugandans to accept the vaccination.

Rujumbura county MP- in Rukungiri District Tumuheirwe Fred Turyamuhweza said asked Ugandans to grab any chance of vaccination saying , hundreds of ugandans have died in the last months due to the deadly virus.

Busiro South MP Peter Ssematimba also encouraged the public to embrace the vaccination.

Ministry of health starts immunizing Uganda Police

By Robert Segawa

Ministry of Health has kicked of the immunization exercise against COVID-19 for Uganda Police Force.

The launch of the exercise was officiated by the Chief of Joint Security, Maj Gen Jack Bakashumba who took the first jab at the police headquarters in Naguru.

Speaking to directors and commanders, Bakashumba urged them to encourage their juniors to be vaccinated because it is for their own safety as Uganda continues with the Corona virus fight.

Bakashumba applauded the Police Force’s doctors whom he said have ensured the force is the least affected among government institutions.

AIGP Dr. Moses Byaruhanga, the Police Director in charge of medical services said they received 20,000 doses of the vaccine but noted these would go to foot soldiers first before others are catered for.

According to Byaruhanga officers who carry out operations, those on counters and those above the age of 50 as well as officers with underlying health conditions will be the first ones to be vaccinated during the exercise that will start in Kampala Metropolitan Area.

Byaruhanga said they have started with Kampala Metropolitan Police because it has many Police officers as well as a center for people from all corners of the country putting them at risk of contracting the virus.

He said the exercise will later be rolled out in border districts and those along major highways.

Government sued over NIN requirement for access to COVAX

By Deo Wasswa

Civil society led by the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), Unwanted Witness and concerned Ugandans led by Namusoke Resitetuta, aged 78 years, a resident of Kakuzu village, Kalisizo sub-county in Kyotera district have dragged government to court over the mandatory requirement by the Ministry of Health for Ugandans to present either national identification card (NIC) or national identification Number (NIN) before receiving COVID 19 vaccines.
On the day the first batch of COVID 19 vaccines arrive in the country, the organisations dual in their lawsuit filed in the High Court, argue that it is illegal, irrational, unfair and discriminatory to condition COVID-19 vaccination on possession of NIN or NIC.

They ask the court to halt the requirement to have a NIC or NIN in order to receive a vaccine.

They want the government to carry out the Vaccination exercise by asking other valid documents such as LC letters, LC identification, Passport, yellow fever card among others because may Ugandans have lost their National Identity cards and Available data from NIRA as of much 2021, shows 6,519,629 Ugandans over 16 years do not have national IDs.

The Government of Uganda in its latest briefing revealed it plans to start vaccination on 10 March following receipt of initial doses of COVAX.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine today, the government plans to start the exercise with health workers, those over 50, those under 50 with pre-existing conditions, teachers, and security forces. “Why is the government doing so when it should be doing everything possible to contain this pandemic? We have neither required NICs nor NINs for vaccination before. Why now?” asked Allana Kembabazi programs manager at ISER shortly after filling the case at high court.

She added that the Constitution is clear about non-discrimination. Under Section 66(2) of the Registration of Person’s Act, 2015, possession of a NIC or NIN is not a prerequisite to receive health services, including COVID vaccines.

They caution the government to instead focus on rolling out COVID 19 Vaccines to everyone eligible as soon as possible and to engage with communities rather than impose additional barriers.