The Uganda Police Force has become the latest government institution to launch the Covid-19 vaccination exercise in a bid to keep the deadly virus at bay.
The exercise launched on Wednesday morning saw Maj Gen Jack Bakasumba, the police’s Chief of Joint Security take the first jab and was followed by other senior officers.
“It is now very clear that vaccine is very safe. Tell your subordinates not to fear taking the vaccine,”Bakasumba told Police directors and commanders present at the function held at the force’s headquarters in Naguru.
Explaining that vaccination is not mandatory, the Police’s Chief of Joint Security said officers are always on the frontline, adding that it is of their own benefit to take the jabs.
“I thank the medics for the job done so far for keeping us safe because of all government institutions; police is the least affected though they are at the frontline. However, it is too early to celebrate,” he said.
Bakasumba said the force was given 20,000 doses that he said are not enough to cater for the over 40000 officers but said it will go a long way in the fight against the virus.
According to AIGP Dr. Moses Byaruhanga, the director of police health services the vaccination exercise will kick off in Kampala Metropolitan Area for its strategic location.
“The KMP region will be considered first because we it has the largest number of police personnel of about 15000 and many people from all corners of the country converge here,”Byaruhanga said.
The head of the police medical services noted that the exercise will take between four and six weeks in the Kampala Metropolitan Area before it is rolled out in upcountry regions.
“Our plan is border districts and those along highways including Mbale,Iganga,Masaka and Lugazi to come next.”
Byaruhanga said whereas all the security forces were given 100,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, the Police got only 20,000 doses that he said will not be enough for all personnel.
“Our first priority will be foot soldiers who are always out there in the field carrying out operations, those at the counters, offices above 50 and those with underlying illnesses. Later we can see if their spouses can be catered for,” he said.
The Police now join the UPDF, Special Forces Command and Uganda Prisons Services among the security forces that have kicked off the Covid-19 immunization exercise.
Uganda last month received 800,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX and an additional 100,000 doses to make 900,000.
According to the Ministry of Health, the vaccination to be done in a phased manner will begin with health workers in public and private hospitals who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus plus security personnel, teachers, humanitarian workers and people above the age of 50, before other groups of people come in.
Government is also set to buy over two million doses of the vaccine to be administered to its citizens.