By Markson Omagor
The Ministry of Health has extended the period in which people who are due for the second Covid-19 vaccine.
In her communication issued yesterday 5th May 2021, titled ‘Update of the Covid-19 Pandemic situation and vaccination program’ Dr. Ruth Aceng said the second jab should now be taken after three months.
Dr. Aceng who is the Minister of Health said that even if the Ministry is aware that a number of people are due for the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, this dose will now be given after three months from the date one got the first dose.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has now advised that one should take the second dose 12 weeks (3 months) after receiving the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to maximize the benefits of the vaccine,” Aceng’s communication reads in part.
According to Dr. Aceng, WHO analyzed that AstraZeneca vaccine efficiency increases significantly when the interval between doses is more than 4 weeks (4-8 weeks – 56.42%, 9-12 weeks – 70.48%, 12 weeks and above 77.62% and as high as 81.3% in another study.
“Immunogenecity data also shows an antibody response is two times higher with an interval of equal or more than 12 weeks as compared to the 4-8 weeks,” the communication reads.
Other guidelines that Minister Aceng issued include; banning all flights to and from India which the government of Uganda considers Category 1.
The only exempted flights are Cargo flights where crew do not disembark, Technical stops where travellers do not disembark, Aircraft in a state of emergency, Operations related to humanitarian aid, Medical evacuation and Diplomatic flights approved by the appropriate authority, and Nationals returning from medical treatment from India.
Travellers from Category 2 countries should consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda. These countries are listed as USA, UK, UAE, Turkey South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Tanzania.
The Minister’s update indicates that as of yesterday 5th May 6, 2021, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases stand at 42,102, Active cases on admission are 38, Recoveries (Home Based Care and Health Facility Based) stand at 41,722 while 343 have died.
“There is already an upsurge reported in districts that were previously on high alert and are now in action mode. The districts are Kiryandongo, Adjumani, Soroti, Oyam, Gulu and Jinja,” Dr. Aceng reports.