Uganda will import five million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines next month after the discovery of new COVID-19 variants in the country, President Yoweri Museveni has said. In a televised address to the nation late Friday, Museveni said the vaccines will be used to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the 5.5 million elderly. People below 50 years, with underlying medical conditions that are at high risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, will also be vaccinated. Uganda targets to vaccinate more than 21.9 million people who face the highest risk of the infection, including the health workers, teachers, social workers and security personnel, elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. “The government is working hard to ensure we bring another five million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine before the end of May to complete the threshold vaccination and ensure that those vaccinated before getting the second booster dose,’’ said Museveni. “Vaccines are the most effective intervention we have against COVID-19. “The government and partners are working hard to bring vaccines to most adult Ugandans to protect them and to support us to reopen the economy and get back all our children to school.’’ Henry Mwebesa, Director-General of Health Services, last week said Uganda is scheduled to receive some two million more doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in May through the COVAX facility. Uganda has so far received 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX vaccine sharing programme and the Indian government. As of April 16, a total of 220,893 people had been inoculated with the first jab of AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Health statistics. The country has reported the emergence of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variants which were first reported in Britain, South Africa and Nigeria. The ministry’s data showed that as of April 16, Uganda had registered a cumulative total of 41,340 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 40,898 recoveries and 338 deaths.

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and his wife, Hajiya Aisha, on Saturday, received their second jabs of Astrazeneca vaccine of COVID-19.

Speaking after receiving the jab, Mohammed appreciated the state’s development partners, the health workers as well as the religious and traditional leaders for the success of the vaccination exercise

According to him, through the collaborative efforts, the state had achieved 97.9 per cent coverage of the vaccination.

The governor called for synergy between the federal and state governments to procure more vaccines for the total coverage of the citizenry.

The governor appealed to some religious faithful, who allegedly refused to participate in the vaccination against COVID-19, to embrace the exercise.

He said that he was surprised to hear that leaders of certain religion refused to present themselves for the vaccination.

“Please, we are not expecting this from them because they are the most enlightened among our population.

“If they are not presenting themselves, the followers will also not present themselves.

“We don’t want any exclusion, everyone is very dear to me.

“So, I must make sure that they are well secured and protected,’’ the governor said.

Earlier, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BASPHCDA), remarked that some pregnant women were among those who allegedly refuse to take the vaccine jabs.

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Mohammed noted that a large number of Bauchi residents were responding positively to the vaccine.

He explained that the state recorded 97.9 per cent vaccination coverage during the first vaccination exercise.

The chairman added that the state had received 55,000 vaccines from the Federal Government for the second COVID-19 vaccination exercise.

“We have 97.9 per cent coverage and we have about 55,000 doses of vaccines in our hand today.

“However, we are only going to give this vaccination to those that had the first dose.

“If you didn’t take the first dose, you are excluded from the second dose,’’ Mohammed said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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