Uganda scraps COVID-19 vaccination campaign in schools

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

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministries of Education and Health have scrapped plans of vaccinating learners against COVID-19 in schools.

Over 16 million learners aged 5 to 17 years were supposed to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Previously, the ministries had planned to roll out mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign in schools between May and June.

However, weeks after the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in schools was slated to start, officials from the respective ministries say the campaigns will not take place.

In an interview on Tuesday 14, June 2022, the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said the vaccination of learners will be rolled out during the holidays to enable parents to decide whether or not they want their children vaccinated.

The Minister of State for Primary Education, Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu said vaccination of children under the age of 18 years needs to be observed by a parent or guardian which makes vaccination at school very difficult.

The ministers say the government is still discussing how effectively vaccination of learners can be carried out in a safe manner. They also denied reports that vaccination in schools had started.

This comes at a time when some schools had already drafted what they termed as COVID-19 vaccination consent forms which were sent to parents. The forms had already generated anxiety among parents who were against vaccination.

The vaccination of staff and learners has been an area of contention since the exercise was started last year in March.

Read Also: COVID-19 vaccination of children in Uganda will not be forceful

550,000 teachers from different institutions of learning were targeted for vaccination, but to date, only 32 per cent are fully vaccinated.

In addition to vaccination, the two ministries are engaged in a discussion of the possibility of revising the current COVID-19 school Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Before the increase in COVID-19 cases, the ministries had concluded talks that would have seen the suspension of the mandatory wearing of masks by learners and the removal of the two-meter social distancing rule.

However, with cases increasing, Dr. Kaducu says they are still discussing how these measures can be handled given the current situation.