By Richard Akandwanaho
The Chairperson of the Interreligious council of Kigezi Rev Fr Gaetano Batanyenda has vowed never to allow being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine until President Yoweri Museveni first accepts to be vaccinated.
On 6th this month, Uganda’s Ministry of Health received 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX facility—the world’s facility for universal access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in an unprecedented effort to provide at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
Uganda targets to vaccinate 49.6 per cent of the population, which is about 21,936,011, in a phased manner. Each phase is planned to cover 20 per cent of the population – approximately 4.38 million people.
The vaccine doses were received at Entebbe International Airport by Uganda’s Health Minister; Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero who was the first person to be vaccinated.
The first phase of the free vaccination is targeting health workers in public and private health facilities who by the nature of their work are at higher risk of contracting the disease compared to other categories of people. Other target groups in order of priority are security personnel; teachers; humanitarian front-line workers, people above 50 years with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart, kidney, or liver disease; people aged 18-50 with the same underlying conditions; and other emerging high risk and priority essential groups as more vaccine doses arrive in the country.
Since its arrival, a number of Ugandans especially the health workers have been vaccinated though some have not embraced the vaccination probably dues to fear and some other personal reasons.
Not like his Rwandan counterpart President Paul Kagame, President Museveni has not been seen publically being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking during a press conference at Kick Corruption out of Uganda offices in Central division Kabale municipality, Fr Batanyenda wondered why Ugandans should accept the vaccine that the President doubts and has not embraced.
He said that if President Museveni trusted the source and the quality of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, he would have accepted to be the first person to be vaccinated for his personal safety.
Fr Gaetano said he shall not accept the vaccine until President Museveni becomes a good example to Ugandans and gets injected with the vaccine