Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Cabinet has passed a decision that will see an estimated 6 million learners aged 12-17 years get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The learners will be vaccinated using the Pfizer vaccine which has been approved by both the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Previously, the government had planned to vaccinate learners in a mass school campaign so as to reach as many children as possible. However, following complaints by some parents, the Ministries of Health and Education shelved those plans awaiting the cabinet’s decision.
Now following the cabinet sitting on Tuesday 21, June 2022, the vaccination of learners will now take place during the school holidays.
Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance says the decision was reached to vaccinate children due to the current rise in COVID-19 cases.
Dr Baryomunsi urged parents to give consent for their children to be vaccinated. He said parents should not be worried about the vaccine since science shows it is effective and efficacious.
Records from the Ministry of Health show that the number of positive COVID-19 cases is on the increase. It is estimated that 600 cases are being recorded every week on average now, compared to 20 cases per week between the months of January and May 2022.
The vaccination will be part of the country’s third mass vaccination campaign that will hopefully use up majority of the vaccines that are scheduled to expire by the end of September.
According to figures from the ministry of health, an estimated 6.1 million vaccines are expected to expire by September 2022.
Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, the director of public health at the Ministry of Health and also the COVID-19 Vaccination Incident Commander says the expiry of vaccines is not a surprise.
“At the beginning we didn’t have vaccines but when the vaccines came we had few cases of the disease and people had become complacent. So the fact that we have vaccines about to expire is not surprising but we hope to use them all up in the mass vaccination campaign,” he said.
Training of health workers who will carry out vaccination during the forthcoming campaign is ongoing. The vaccination of learners is expected to take place in August 2022 during the second term holidays.