Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng delivered her 31st address to update the country on the Covid-19 response and vaccination coverage following the gradual reopening of the economy.
Below are notable points from the address:
As of January 5, the country had registered 151,762 cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases, 98,659 recoveries, and 3,333 deaths due to COVID-19.
Currently, there are 538 patients admitted to various public health facilities and non-traditional isolation units. New admissions in the last 24 hours are 105 patients. Of the 538 patients, 383 patients are admitted to different public health facilities around the country while 155 patients are at Jinja Prison (one of the non-traditional isolation units).
In the last 14 days, we have registered 19,413 confirmed cases, giving a daily average of 1,386 cases. However, in the last 7 days (from December 29th to January 04th, 2022), Uganda has registered 11,222 confirmed cases with an average positivity rate of 20.9%.
This is a 37% increase in the number of cases and a 4.8% increase in positivity rate compared to the previous week (of December 22nd to 28th 2021) where cases were 8,191 and the average positivity at 16.1%.
The country has moved from the period of sustained containment where the positivity rate was below 5 %. The country is now in its third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country has moved to this new transmission wave due to factors such as limited adherence to SOPs in most of the places, crowding especially during the festive season, misconception that once vaccinated SOPs no longer apply, and abuse of the requirements to Isolate when found positive.
So far, 12,085,428 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to the population. To date, 10,315,951 of the 22 million priority persons have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and 2,236,544 are vaccinated using J&J vaccine while 1,769,477 have received the second dose of their initial
vaccine and are therefore fully vaccinated.
Considering it requires only one dose of J&] to be fully vaccinated, Uganda has fully vaccinated 4,006,021 people (a vaccination coverage of 18.2%)
A booster dose is a dose of vaccine that is given to someone who is already fully vaccinated after a specified period, in this case, 6 months. This offers additional protection against the threat of the new COVID-19 Variants like Omicron.
The ministry will start giving booster doses to those who are ready to receive them beginning February 2022. The elderly aged 50 years and above have already started receiving their booster doses.
The Ministry of Health will administer booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the following priority populations: Elderly aged 50 years and above, Security personnel, Health workers, Teachers both in pre-primary, primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions, Boda Boda riders, Drivers and conductors of all Passenger Services Vehicles (PSVs), Bar and night club workers, Market workers and vendors, Religious leaders, Media.
It will begin with Health workers, Teachers and the Security Forces now, while the rest will start at the end of March 2022.
The aforementioned groups of people were recommended for booster doses due their high level of contact with the other members of the public during their day-to-day activities.
The recommended groups are eligible for booster if they completed their primary vaccine series at least 6 months ago.
Testing of learners prior to going back to school or on arrival is NOT an official position of the COVID-19 National task Force.
Testing before returning to school is not necessary because it's only beneficial when there is a history of contact or symptoms. Mass testing would not guarantee any infection among the tested because some could be in the early stages.
Mass testing is effective if done frequently like every week which is not sustainable and not a guarantee for ensuring no outbreak.
All passengers aged 18 years and above must present proof of vaccination with at least the first dose, before they can access or use Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV) around the country.
At the end of March 2022, passengers will be required to present vaccination certificates showing their full vaccination status since adequate time has been given to receive the second dose.
Passengers below 18 years of age should be allowed to access PSVs given that they don't fall among the 22 million people who are targeted for the COVID-19 vaccination.
All travelers must adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures i.e. mandatory wearing of masks and hand sanitizing.