Uganda on Wednesday launched the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination campaign targeting high risk groups in the east African country.
First Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali launched the vaccination exercise at Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital in the capital, Kampala.
Ruth Aceng, the minister of health, said the exercise targets more than 21.9 million people who face the highest risk of the infection like the health workers, teachers, social workers and security personnel, elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
“The priority groups will receive the COVID-19 vaccination in a staggered manner. The first priority group to be vaccinated will be our health workers,” said Aceng at the launch. “The AstraZeneca vaccines, which we shall be administering, are safe and protective against severe forms of disease and deaths.”
Aceng, senior officials from her ministry, as well as Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organization Representative in Uganda, were among the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine jab.
“Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to counter the disease. Let’s all get vaccinated,” said Woldemariam.
Uganda last week received the first donation of 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX facility vaccine sharing program and the Indian government.
Uganda requires at least 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to get its population of 45 million vaccinated and extra doses to cater for the refugee population in the country, according to the government statistics.
The Chinese government has donated 300,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to Uganda, which the Ugandan Ministry of Health is finalizing technical processes to receive.
Uganda as of Tuesday had recorded 40,490 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19, 15,075 recoveries and 334 deaths since the index case was reported on March 22, according to the Ministry of Health.