KAMPALA – COVID-19 vaccination will be voluntary when vaccination starts in the country, according to the Ministry of Health. The Health Minister. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng disclosed this at a media briefing on Tuesday evening.
According to the Health Ministry, the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the country in mid-March this year. If things go as planned, vaccination will then start by the end of the month. The first beneficiaries will be people aged 50 years and above, teachers, security personnel and persons with co-morbidities.
The 2017 Immunization Act mandates the Health Minister to order the administration of vaccines in case of an epidemic. The law also mandates the minister to make vaccinations mandatory or not. Vaccination is being promoted and one of the best ways to overcome the pandemic.
According to various studies, COVID-19 vaccines are able to decrease COVID-19 infections by over 40 percent. Lt. Col Dr. Henry Kyobe, the COVID-19 national incidence commander, says that even if people will not be forced to take the vaccine, it is the only guaranteed way to conquer the disease.
“Vaccination is the only assured way to overcome this disease and for this to happen, a big number of the population needs to be vaccinated,” he said. Uganda has ordered 36 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Joseph Matovu, a behaviour change specialist says that some of the options being offered might derail the purpose of the vaccination.
“Sometimes people need to be scared to do something. If you give them an opportunity to decide whether they should be vaccinated, many people will not, especially when it comes to a disease like COVID-19 that they do not understand well. Many think it is a hoax,” he said.