President Museveni and First Lady were on Saturday morning the first people to take the jabs as State House staff started the Covid-19 vaccination using the AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX.
“The First Lady Janet Museveni and I got our Covid-19 vaccine today in Nakasero. I encourage all Ugandans who qualify for this vaccination to go to health facilities and get it but remember to keep observing the Standard Operating Procedures of wearing masks, washing or sanitizing hands and observing social distance,” Museveni tweeted.
The actual vaccination for the two was done by the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine.
Following the exercise, Atwine hailed Museveni and the First Lady for leading by example.
“Congratulations President Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni for taking the vaccine against Covid. You have been exemplary all the way,” Atwine tweeted.
The latest development is expected to bring an end to questions especially on social media on why the president had not taken the lead in taking the COVID jab, just like some of his counterparts in the East African region.
Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Paul Kagame(Rwanda) are some of the presidents in the region who have taken the Covid jab.
President Museveni recently sued the Daily Monitor for reporting that he and his inner circle had been vaccinated against the virus before even the first doses of the vaccine arrived in the country.
The newspaper quoted a story published by The Wall Street Journal, an American publication, which stated that “People close to President Museveni have reportedly received jabs of China Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine months ahead of health workers and vulnerable groups”.
In his suit, Museveni insists that the article was understood by the right-thinking members of the society that he is dishonest and has abused his position as the Head of State.
“The plaintiff is understood as a dishonest person who has used his position as President of the Republic of Uganda to secretly enable himself and people close to him to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, months ahead of health workers and other vulnerable groups,”Museveni said in the suit before the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala.
He also said the article presented him as a schemer and conspirator who has engaged himself in dishonest activities of influence peddling and nepotism.
“It were understood to mean that the plaintiff has abdicated his duties and obligations to frontline health workers fighting COVID-19 and other groups that are vulnerable to the pandemic. The article indicated that the plaintiff cannot be trusted with the high office of the President of the Republic of Uganda.”
However, in their response, Daily Monitor said the article was published first as a rumour, which was already in the public domain and sought their views with intentions to dispel the rumour, which was not done by other publications, adding that it was not defamatory.
Astra Zeneca vaccines
Uganda last month received 800,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX and an additional 100,000 doses to make 900,000.
Uganda also ordered 18 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca to be administered to its citizens.
The Health Minister, Dr.Jane Ruth Aceng earlier this week said more than 32,000 people have so far taken their first Astra Zeneca jab as government moves to vaccinate the entire country.
The COVAX initiative has so far delivered more than 20 million vaccine doses to more than half of the countries on the African continent.
Whereas some countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Cameroon have halted the rollout of the Astra Zeneca vaccine following concerns by some countries over its safety, the World Health Organisation has assured of its safety.
“In extensive vaccination campaigns, it is routine for countries to signal potential adverse events following immunization. This does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to vaccination itself, but it is good practice to investigate them. It also shows that the surveillance system works and that effective controls are in place,” a statement by the World Health Organisation earlier this month said.
“WHO is in regular contact with the European Medicines Agency and regulators around the world for the latest information on COVID-19 vaccine safety. The WHO COVID-19 Subcommittee of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is carefully assessing the latest available safety data for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Once that review is completed, WHO will immediately communicate the findings to the public.”
The world health body said that at the moment, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommended that vaccinations continue.