Government Advises Ugandans to embrace vaccination as omicron variant rises to deaths over 700
Health Ministry updated the country on the covid19 situation and the progress on vaccination ahead of the festive season at the Media center in Kampala.
In her address, the Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng announced that the country has now officially registered 73cases of the Omicron variant and also emphasized that the Uganda Virus Research Institute is continuing to conduct genomic sequencing of samples obtained from incoming travelers and among cases detected within the country to establish the true picture of this variant in Uganda.
The Minister added that basing on the evidence from elsewhere across the world, this variant rapidly multiplies in the community within a shortest period and it poses a high risk for severe illness to unvaccinated persons and appealed to Ugandans to run and get their jabs.
On the overview of covid19 in the country, the Minister said that that to date the country has registered 130,888 cumulative confirmed cases of which 98,127 of those have recovered and 3,274 have succumbed to the disease.
Currently, 85 patients have been admitted in various public health facilities and 42 of them are being admitted in the last 7 days she added.
According to the Minister, the country has registered a 100% increase in cases and positivity rate in the last 7days but generally in the last 14 days of December, 2,423 cases were registered which gave an average of 173 cases per day.
Wakiso district tops the list of the highest number of cases in the country with a percentage of 46% followed by Kampala with 38%, Kyotera with 6% Tororo with 2% and Amuru with 1% among others.
The Minister also said that for the period between October and December 11th 2021, the country had completely controlled the disease when the positivity rate consistently remained under 5% indicating the control of the pandemic, but the last two weeks saw a shoot up in the number of cases which are being observed mostly in boarder districts and mostly from incoming travelers and truck drivers.
On the issue of vaccination, the Minister continued to emphasize it as a key strategic intervention to control the pandemic and said that so far over 10million doses have been administered and of these over 9million people constituting 43% have received the first dose and over 1million people also constituting 15% have received the second dose meaning that they are fully vaccinated.
On the vaccine pipeline in the country, the Minister said that the government has since received a total of 32,696,440 doses of vaccines and of these 20,039,066 have been utilized countrywide were as 12,657,374 are being distributed currently.
An additional 11,010,810 doses of various vaccines are expected in the country by the end of March 2022 she added.
On covid19 vaccine boosters, the Ministry assured their availability and recommended them to persons aged 50years and above plus those persons with co-morbidities to further enhance their immunity but cautioned that the booster should be got at-least 6months after completing the primary covid19 vaccination series.
With the Ministry observance in an increase in the number of celebration events taking place this season, the Minister strongly advised the organizers of these events to ensure strict adherence to SoPs which include hand washing, social distance and proper use of face masks at all times.
The Ministry also informed the public that due to the fast spreading Omicron variant, effective today 23rd to 5th January the Emergency Ambulance Service is to deploy over 300 ambulances staffed with 600 professionals across the country and all these will be on standby to respond to any queries concerning the pandemic.
In conclusion, the Minister wished Ugandans a merry Christmas and a happy New year but appealed to the elderly who have been fully vaccinated to go for booster doses and those who have not taken any jab to do so with urgency and also added that the vaccines are safe , free and effective and will protect them from devastating effects of covid19.
STORY BY ABDUL KIMERA