By Agnes Kiconco
KIU, Main Campus - The Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng on Friday, January 7 announced that those who are ready to receive booster doses will receive them beginning February 2022. Saying this, she noted that the elderly aged 50 years and above have already started receiving their booster doses.
Addressing the press at Media Centre in Kampala, Aceng said following the directive of H.E the President, the Ministry of Health will administer booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the following priority populations:
I. Elderly aged 50 years and above
II. Security personnel
III. Health workers
IV. Teachers both in pre-primary, primary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions
V. Boda Boda riders
VI. Drivers and conductors of all Passenger Services Vehicles (PSVs)
VII. Bar and nightclub workers
VIII. Market workers and vendors
IX. Religious leaders
“We shall begin with health workers, teachers, and the security forces now, while the rest will start at the end of March 2022,” she said, adding that the aforementioned groups of people were recommended for booster doses due to their high level of contact with the other members of the public during their day-to-day activities.
Aceng also noted that the recommended groups are eligible for booster if they completed their primary vaccine series at least 6 months ago.
“A booster dose is a dose of vaccine that is given to someone who is already fully vaccinated after a specified period, in this case, 6 months. This offers additional protection against the threat of the new COVID-19 Variants like Omicron,” she revealed.
While giving an update on the COVID-19 response, vaccination coverage, vaccination mandate, safe re-opening of schools, border COVID-19 testing, and safe re-opening of schools next week, Aceng also said 1,769,477 have received the second dose and are therefore fully vaccinated and considering it requires only one dose of J&J to be fully vaccinated, Uganda has fully vaccinated 4,006,021 people (a vaccination coverage of 18.2%).
“So far, 12,085,428 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to the population. To date, 10,315,951 of the 22 million priority persons have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, and 2,236,544 are vaccinated using J&J vaccine,” she said.
In her remarks, Aceng stressed that due to limited adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in most of the places, crowding especially during the festive season, a misconception that once vaccinated SOPs no longer apply and abuse of the requirements to isolate when found positive, the country has moved from the period of sustained containment where the positivity rate was below 5 %.
The country is now in its third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.