Uganda Prisons Services-UPS has less than 100 COVID-19 vaccine doses left, amidst a very high demand by the personnel and prison communities to get vaccinated.
Frank Mayanja Baine, public relations officer of UPS, says the security agency received 10,000 doses and over 9,900 have been consumed. This translates to an uptake of 99 percent, much higher than any other department in the country.
According to the ministry of health, 268, 317 have been vaccinated out of an anticipated national target in the initial doses of 964,000 vaccines that were donated by covax and the government of India.
While vaccination commenced on March 10 at Mulago National Specialised Hospital and Entebbe Regional Hospital and other centers, the exercise kicked off on March 23 at the Prisons headquarters. There are 12,000 prison personnel, deployed in the 260 prisons across the country.
Baine says that the majority of prison staff have embraced the vaccination exercise. He says that the vaccine is safe because vaccinated personnel, including himself, have not reported any significant side effects.
Two thousand personnel are missing out on the chance but Baine says the ministry of health should allocate the prisons services more doses. He says the extra doses for prisons personnel should be got from those targeted areas whose individuals such as teachers and medics have shunned the exercise.
The education ministry says over 99% of all the teachers registered across the country to receive the Covid-19 vaccine have shunned the exercise. It noted that only 7,000 of the 550,000 teachers have received the jab.
Recently, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the health ministry noted that facilities and institutions that need more doses can make requests and they will be given. The ministry continues to urge the targeted groups such as teachers, health workers, security personnel and those with underlying conditions namely hypertension, diabetes, kidney, heart and liver disease to embrace vaccination.
To ensure personnel do not abandon work stations, medical teams camp at the prisons for at least two days so that even those who work in shifts do not miss out.
Baine adds that none of the 60,000 prisoners have been vaccinated, contrary to some social media reports that Kawempe North MP elect Muhammad Segirinya was vaccinated when he was remanded at Kitalya Prison.
Baine says prisoners are just as vulnerable as the staff, because Uganda Prisons has registered a total of 1,045 COVID-19 cases ever since the outbreak of the pandemic. These cases were recorded among both inmates and staff. The most notable being the 152 inmates and one prison staff at Amuru prison who tested positive on 22nd August 2020.
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