By Issa Aligaweesa
The Ministry of Health has urged teachers and non-teaching staff to go for COVID-19 vaccination, saying the vaccines are enough.
The Health ministry’s spokesperson, Emmanuel Ainebyona, said with the 300,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine received from China, the ministry intends to cover all teachers to enable the re-opening of learning institutions.
“We appeal to teachers who received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and are at 12 weeks, to reach the designated vaccination centers for their second jab. For those who are due for the first doze, each district is going to communicate with designated centres. Kampala has already communicated,” he said.
Ainebyona made the remarks while briefing journalists about the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination exercise, Thursday (August 26, 2021).
According to Ainebyona, out of the targeted 550,000 teachers and support staff countrywide, a total of 170,234 have received their first doze of AstraZeneca vaccine and 61,848 their second.
On Monday, the National Medical Stores embarked on the distribution of vaccines countrywide with stock of the 300,000 doses of Sinovac Vaccine that was received from China and also the 299,000 of AstraZeneca from the UK.
“The distribution is expected to last four days and by the end of this week, every district will have received the two vaccines.’
Ainebyona assured Ugandans who have not yet been vaccinated to be patient, saying more vaccines are expected. His call was also echoed by Kampala Capital City Authority spokesperson Daniel Nuweabine, who said there were enough vaccines for teachers.
According to Nuweabine, KCCA is targeting a total of 20,000 teaching and non-teaching staff in Kampala metropolitan area, which also includes Wakiso and Mukono districts.
“We have enough vaccines for all the targeted teachers, and we encourage them to go to the gazetted centres,” he said.
Vaccination key to re-opening schools
The rallying of teaching and non-teaching staff to go for vaccination follows the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs Janet Museveni’s, communication last week in which she emphasised the vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff and learners above 18 years.
According to Mrs Museveni, the vaccination of teachers and non-teaching staff is key to re-opening of schools in the country.
Nuweabine said KCCA received 11,848 doses of Sinovac vaccine and 104,216 doses of AstraZeneca from the health ministry on Thursday. It set up 10 centres where vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff, who are receiving their first jab, is being done.
“At these 10 centres, we are only catering for teachers and non-teaching staff that are receiving their first jab and we are only administering Sinovac. Those who are due for the second jab are encouraged to go to health centres and other vaccination points within the city that had earlier been communicated,” Nuweabine said.
The centres include Bat Valley Primary Schools, Kitante Primary School, Namirembe Infant Primary School, Busega Primary School, St. Peter’s Nsambya Primary School, St. Denis Ssebugwawo Secondary School, Kiswa Primary School, Ntinda Primary School, Makerere University Primary School and St. Peter’s Kanyanya Primary School.
By the end of Thursday, a total of 1,706 teachers and non-teaching staff had received their first doses of Sinovac, with the highest number registered in Makindye division.
Vaccination in Wakiso
According to the district education officer, Fredrick Kiyingi Kinobe, the vaccination exercise for teaching and non-teaching staff will start on Monday (August 30, 2021).
He revealed that 20,000 doses have been reserved specifically for teachers. Wakiso district has over 40,000 teachers. The district has gazetted 34 centres.
Kiyingi advised headteachers to compile lists indicating the teachers who got the first dose and those who have not been vaccinated at all.
Wakiso district health educator Bonny Natukunda, said Wakiso got 34,131 dozes and these include 21,523 dozes of Sinovac and 12,608 dozes of AstraZeneca.
A tour of some of the vaccination centres in Kampala by New Vision, Thursday, showed that centres such as Namirembe Primary School, Bat Valley Primary School and St. Peter’s Nsambya Primary School were overwhelmed by numbers.
However, to avoid congestion, some teachers were encouraged to go back and come another day. In other areas, the teachers were transported to less congested centers.
The chairperson of Private Education Institutions, who is also the headteacher of Jonan High School Bombo, Michael Kironde, requested KCCA to allocate centers with huge numbers more doses.
“Some centers are overwhelmed, while others are not. We came up with the idea to transport staff members with our school buses to less congested centers so that they all get the opportunity to be vaccinated,” Kironde said.