Uganda: Covid-19 Jabs - Hospitals Relax Rules, Vaccinate Everyone

Some designated hospitals for Covid-19 vaccination are administering jabs to everyone who turns up, contrary to Ministry of Health directives to only administer the jabs to high-risk groups, Daily Monitor established.

A health worker at Naguru Hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told this reporter that they want more people to benefit from the vaccines when they are still viable.

"We are vaccinating anyone who comes because the vaccines will expire soon," the health worker said on Tuesday.

Ministry of Health recently revealed that the vaccines will expire in July.

However, the World Health Organisation has said their assessment found that the vaccine remains effective for at least three more months after the said expiry date.

Some of the facilities said to be administering jabs to everyone include Life Link clinic in Naalya, Ministry of Health vaccination centre, and a facility in Mbale District.

"Sometimes the vial that should serve 10 people is opened but only six people are present to take it. So the rest is given to any member of the public who is willing to receive the jab," a source in Mbale District said.

At City Hall clinic at the Kampala Capital City Authority headquarters in Kampala, Sister Rose Acan, the administrator, also said they are experiencing an increase in the numbers of youth, who do not lie in the category of high-risk groups, coming for Covid-19 vaccination.

"We always welcome these people, talk to them about the importance of vaccination and promise them to return later when government permits us to vaccinate them," Sister Acan said yesterday.

She added: "Many of them started coming following the announcement of new strains of the coronavirus from India."

Govt reacts

Asked whether there is a policy change, Dr Alfred Driwale, the head of immunisation programme at the Ministry of Health, warned health workers against vaccinating everyone who turns up, saying government has not relaxed the policy.

"The directive has not changed on vaccinating priority groups. Policies don't keep changing just like that. The priority groups of health workers, teachers, people who are 50 years and above, and those with comorbidities," he said.

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