Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Health has asked persons aged 50 years and above, and those living with other health conditions that compromise immunity to seek booster doses of COVID-19 jabs to further enhance their immunity.
This development comes after the country registered a hundred per cent increase in cases in the last week. According to test results released on Thursday 23, December 2021, the country recorded 710 new cases at a test positivity rate of 10.1 per cent.
Health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng told a press conference that the country has for many months been keeping infections below 5% but with the rise, they have resolved to protect those at most risk of severe disease even as the country has not yet hit 50% vaccination coverage which is recommended for any country to start dispensing boosters.
She says all those above 50 years of age and have now passed six months after they finished their initial jabs can get a booster.
According to Dr. Misaki Wayengere who heads the COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Committee, booster doses would be recommended even in areas that are seeing re-emergence of infections. But this will be opened up in January when it is expected that the country will have hit the target of 50% of the 22million targeted for vaccination.
Currently, in terms of vaccination coverage, 43 per cent of the targeted people have received their first jab with about 1.9 million getting inoculated with the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Those that are fully vaccinated account for just 15.5 per cent of the target population, which is still way too low to the 50 per cent World Health Organization (WHO) threshold.
For now however, with plans of doubling vaccination coverage, experts encourage the public to keep observing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene.
According to MOH figures, Wakiso is currently topping districts with the highest new infections at 46% followed by Kampala at 38 per cent, followed by the border districts of Amuru and Kyotera.
Dr. Aceng said when they analyzed this data, they established that most of the people testing positive are travelers who arrived in the country through Entebbe International Airport from countries including Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, UK and the United Arab Emirates.
She attributes the increase to the new COVID-19 Omicron variant warning that though this virus mostly gives mild infection, the few that can get severe infection would affect the already fragile health system.