Uganda relaxes National ID requirement for COVID-19 vaccination

The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng
The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Health Ministry has dropped its earlier decision requiring all people showing up for COVID-19 vaccination to present National Identification cards (IDs).

The Health Minister, Dr. Ruth Aceng, says they have put in place new measures to identify the beneficiaries. 

The minister’s announcement comes a few days after the Initiative for Social Economic Rights and Unwanted Witnesses petitioned court challenging the decision by the Ministry to use only National Identity cards to identify COVID-19 vaccine beneficiaries, saying this would leave out many Ugandans who have never received national IDs or have lost them.    

COVID-19 vaccination begins today Wednesday 10, March 2021 at the Mulago National Specialized National Referral Hospital. At the national level, vaccination will take place at Health Center IIIs and IVs, district hospitals and regional referral hospitals.

The first priority groups include health workers estimated to be 150,000, teachers and security personnel.

Dr. Alfred Driwale, the programme manager of Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization (UNEPI), says they have set up measures to avoid cases where non-Ugandans are vaccinated at the cost of Ugandans.

The health ministry is planning to vaccinate around 22 million people aged 18 and above. However, the country has so far received 964,000 vaccines donated by the Chinese and Indian governments. According to Dr. Driwale, they need to make sure that only eligible persons get the vaccine because there are no excess doses.

“The demand for the vaccines is high but there’s no supply. Now, if we do not register people and make sure, only Ugandans get the vaccines, then the people we are trying to protect will not be protected. Yet we do not have any excess vaccines in this case. We do not even have enough to vaccinate everyone now,” he said.

Each beneficiary of the vaccination exercise will receive a vaccination card after his or her first jab and a certificate after the second jab. 

“We are going to issue certificates with a national seal because the way things are going, people might not be allowed to travel without a certificate just like in the case of Yellow fever,” Dr. Driwale said.