Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Government of Uganda is considering the vaccination of learners aged between 12 and 18 against COVID-19, as one of the means to ensure safety and sustainable resumption of teaching and learning activities.
The idea, according to Janet Kataha Museveni, the Minister in charge of Education and Sports, is part of the plan developed by the education COVID-19 response committee and the national task force on COVID-19 disease, to control the possible surge of infections among school going children.
First Lady Janet Museveni announced this while releasing the 2020 UCE examination results. Going by the available statistics, the government will vaccinate over 1.8 million learners spread from primary six to post-secondary institutions. She says that once implemented, schools will become safe places for both learners and teachers.
The thought of vaccination of learners before schools are reopened was also re-echoed by President Yoweri Museveni during the national address on COVID-19 on Friday 30, July 2021 night.
Mr. Museveni said that the government has already agreed to the idea and directed the Ministry of Health to follow up on the matter and include it in their plans. He said that the plan will be boosting the earlier planned vaccination of 440,000 teachers and non-teaching staff who had not received their COVID-19 jab in the first phase.
President Museveni says that schools will not reopen not until a sizeable number of learners, teachers, and non-teaching staff have received at least one jab.
He, however, adds that the education ministry and their health counterparts should work out a plan that will see the reopening for medical students since they are categorized as health workers thus being essential.
The government will have to vaccinate at least 2.24 million people to have schools reopened. But, the achievement of this objective will depend entirely on the availability and supply of vaccines.
Uganda currently expects a supply of about 3.6 million COVID19 vaccines. Of these, 1.6 million vaccines are donations from China, the united states, Norway, and the United Kingdom while the rest have been ordered by the government all expected to be received between August and September.
Although earlier expectations by officials in the education ministry put school reopening around September 2021 to enable learners to finish off the 2020 school calendar, this new development currently leaves no possible clue on the resumption of teaching-learning activities.
Recently the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that reopening schools cannot wait for all teachers and students to be vaccinated warning on the enormous effects of the continued schools’ closure in a country that cannot support remote learning.