Uganda has kicked off its first phase of the vaccination against Covid-19 with the limited 964,000 doses got through donations to be administered to high-risk groups, including frontline workers.
Speaking at the function on Wednesday, the Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said the public should ignore any negative comments about the vaccine.
“There is nothing peculiar about the jab. I have just taken it(jab) and I am not experiencing anything funny,”Aceng noted after becoming the first person to take the first jab of the Astra-Zeneca vaccines.
Last week, Austria suspended the use of Astra-Zeneca vaccines, the type Uganda has received from COVAX to allow investigations into the death of one person and serious illness of another after receiving the jabs, Reuters news agency reported.
However, the Health Minister assured the public that there is nothing to worry about the vaccine since it had gone through a series of tests before being cleared for use.
“It is important to know why you are vaccinating. Anybody hesitating to take the jab should know their health is their responsibility. If you value your life and that of your loved ones, vaccinate,”Aceng said.
The World Health Organisation representative in Uganda ,Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam said over 300 million people in the world have received the vaccine and have not had any effects.
“This is proof that the vaccine is safe,”Woldemariam said, adding that vaccinating does not only protect an individual but also the community they live in.
The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwiine hailed the development as a milestone in fighting the pandemic.
“In March last year, we didn’t know we would be here to launch vaccines. Embrace the vaccination exercise. We will move in stages because every life matter but we can’t access all vaccines at ago. We will do it in phases but everyone will receive the vaccine,”Atwiine said.
Speaking about the vaccine, the Health Minister, Dr.Jane Ruth Aceng in the first phase over 21 million people including refugees will be vaccinated in Uganda but noted it would be done in a staggered manner.
She however urged members of the public to ensure they complete the two jabs to ensure the vaccine is effective.
Uganda now joins a list of other neighbouring countries including Kenya and Rwanda among others that have also rolled out the CVODI-19 vaccination exercise.