The Uganda Ministry of Health is finalizing efforts to start COVID-19 vaccinations on March 10, 2021, after officially launching on March 8, with the tourism sector among priority sectors.
- Priority will be guided by occupational risk of infection, risk of developing severe disease, death from COVID-19, and demographics (depending on age, gender, and geographical location).
- From the tourism sector are tour operators, guides, airline workers, immigration workers, Uganda Wildlife Authority, etc., who have been prioritized for the vaccination.
- The Government of Uganda purchased 18 million doses of Astra Zeneca vaccines, and donations are due to arrive from other countries as well.
As the Ministry of Health (MoH) finalizes efforts to start COVID-19 vaccinations on March 10, 2021, after officially launching on March 8, the tourism sector is among the priority sectors that have been identified for phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccine after the health sector.
In a press statement dated March 2, 2021, issued by the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Achieng Ocero, titled “Update on COVID-19 vaccination in Uganda” it was announced that the initial batch of 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive on Friday, March 5, 2021.
This is a phase-based exercise beginning with health workers over 3,000 of whom have so far been trained for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination exercise using a Ministry of Health capacity-building app supported by @lastmilehealth tweeted Achieng.
Priority will be guided by occupational risk of infection, risk of developing severe disease, death from COVID-19, and demographics (depending on age, gender, and geographical location).
Phase 1 shall include health workers (public/private not-for-profit and private for-profit numbering 150,000 teachers, 50 plus, and persons under 50 with underlying health conditions.
From the tourism sector are tour operators, guides, airline workers, immigration workers, Uganda Wildlife Authority, etc., who have been prioritized for the vaccination.
Other emerging high-risk and essential groups are media, prisoners, bankers, Uganda Revenue Authority staff, humanitarian workers, and others to be identified.
Phase 2 shall cover those who are between the ages of 18 and 60 years of age.
The Government of Uganda (GoU) directly purchased 18 million doses of Astra Zeneca vaccines from Serum Institute of India of which 400,000 will be received mid-March and the rest in phases in the course of the year.
Donations from Covax facility allocation of 3,522,000 of Astra Zeneca vaccines shall arrive between March and June with 2,688,000 by June on a quarterly basis for 20% of the population.
The government has also responded to a donation from the Government of India of the Astra Zeneca and has provided shipping and regulatory clearance.
The Ministry of Health is also working on the process of receiving a donation of 300,000 doses of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine (Coronavac).
Uganda will need a total of 45 million vaccines to vaccinate a total of 22 million if all the vaccines provided are of the 2 doses to meet the target of 49.6 % of the population, plus extra to vaccinate the refugee population of approximately 1.5 million. Each stage is planned to cover 20% of the eligible population which is 18-and-above years of age as the available vaccines are not authorized for persons who are 18 years of age and younger.
Results of COVID-19 tests done on March 1, 2021, confirm 28 new cases. The cumulative confirmed cases are 40,395 with 15,008 recoveries, and 334 deaths as of March 2, 2020. Although the numbers of cases are declining, Kampala continues to register the highest number of cases at 48% with 17,872,037 with the West Nile and Elgon sub-region (east of the country) as hot spots.