Covid-19: Uganda president changes terms for school opening

President Museveni said schools and the country will be reopened only after seven million Ugandans are inoculated, 2.2 million higher than the original target.

Up until Thursday when the President made the proclamations, government said the country and educational institutional would reopen once 4.8 million priority populations received the jab.

Among the vulnerable groups, named so due to their exposure to the public, including teachers, non-teaching staff, health workers, security personnel, citizens aged 50 and above as well as youngsters with comorbidities.

According to Ministry of Health statistics, only 2.5 million Ugandans have received the shots, majority single-jabbed, since the government rolled out the nationwide vaccination in March.

This leaves 3.3 million doses lying idle in storage at the National Medical Stores in Entebbe, an irony that officials blamed on limited vaccination outlets across the country.

While giving a Covid situation update on Wednesday, Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng revealed that out of the 5.7 million doses of vaccines that government has received through donations and direct procurement, 2.4 million doses have been utilized countrywide.

The difficulty in getting vaccines to the vulnerable groups mirrors a bigger nationwide problem, one of those in the known and at most risk ignoring jabs despite government’s persuasion.

Thus, President Museveni’s decision to increase the threshold jabbed population from 4.8 million to 7 million would mean many more months of waiting to reopen schools and the country, considering that only 2.4 million Ugandans have over the past six months been inoculated against a more ambitious target to vaccinate 21.9 million citizens overall.

The President did not specify when schools will reopen, in the wake of his pronouncement, but government had set next month as the opening time for universities and tertiary institutions while other educational institutions were scheduled to resume classes next January.

It is unlikely the government will achieve this target following the revision of the population threshold identified for inoculation.

Museveni lashed at those pushing for the reopening of schools, saying it would be suicidal to do so because most schools operate either day section or both board-and-day programmes, meaning commuting learners could contract the pandemic and infect the elderly parents at home.

He noted that reopening of schools cannot be pegged on vaccination of 550,000 teachers alone because these institutions have non-teaching staff and learners above 18 years whom he said they too must be jabbed.

“If we follow the recommendations of those who say that we reopen schools, people will die. We need to wait until December because by that time we shall have vaccinated seven million people and the crucial group are the people above the age of 50 and these account for 4.8 million people of the seven million. Once we achieve this, we shall open with confidence that what we are doing is right,” Museveni said.

However, he did not specify the month when schools will reopen

Source: Nam News Network

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