Kampala, Uganda | URN | More than 5,000 police officers in the Kampala Metropolitan area have dodged the COVID-19 vaccination.
In March 2021, the police launched the COVID-19 vaccination of its personnel at an event that was presided over by Chief of Joint Security –CJS Maj Gen Jack Bakasumba at Naguru police headquarters. This was after the Ministry of Health handed over 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to the police leadership.
Although priority was given to policemen and women with underlying chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, pressure or HIV, all personnel in Kampala were urged to turn for vaccination since the Capital City and its neighbouring districts of Wakiso and Mukono have been the epicenter of COVID-19 cases.
Over 13,000 police officers are estimated to be living in Kampala metropolitan. Dr Moses Byaruhanga, the Director of Police Health Services, says only 7,833 police officers in Kampala have turned up for the exercise.
“We started with KMP because it is a densely populated area. Most of the trucks going upcountry pass through KMMP. The risk is higher. We also chose KMP because we were beginning the exercise and would be easier for us to report to the ministry in case there were any side effects. But as of now, we have vaccinated 7,833 personnel. Of these, 200 were vaccinated by local governments,” Dr Byaruhanga said.
Several police officers have been sceptical about getting the COVID-19 jab. Others according to Dr Byaruhanga were perhaps deployed at places that were far away from the vaccination centre which was established at Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID headquarters at Kibuli.
Nevertheless, Dr Byaruhanga said the vaccination centre at Kibuli will stay in case any officer feels like getting the jab will be attended to. The police six teams comprised of six health workers per group have already traversed all stations and division at border points and they are currently concluding with Kabalye Police Training School, in Masindi district.
The cumulative number of vaccinated police personnel including those vaccinated by local government stands at 26,550. Dr Byaruhanga said they will afterwards engage the Ministry of Health to forge the way forward since the police force’s overall total number is close to 47,000.
Among the many challenges police health teams have faced in the seven weeks’ vaccination exercise is bad weather especially in several parts of the Karamoja sub-region. The heavy rains made the roads impassable while in many places they were no safe storage facilities for the vaccinates so they had to travel several kilometres daily.
Dr Byaruhanga applauds National Medical Stores (NMS), Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Prisons Services as well M.O.H that provided them with fridges where they store the vaccines.