By John Ogulei
The Executive Director Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda has called on the Government to include journalists in the first phase of vaccination.
Robert Sempala made the call yesterday during in a meeting organized by Health network Journalists of Uganda at Fairway Hotel Kampala.
This is in response to the Ugandan Government roll out of its first phase of COVID-19 vaccination with health workers being the priority.
According to Sempala, the media plays a critical role in shaping society and that there is need to have them included in the first phase of vaccination.
He reveals that, Journalists like other target groups that include security personnel; teachers; humanitarian front-line workers, people above 50 years with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart, kidney, or liver disease are not safe to practice their daily duties and deserve to be protected in order to be motivated to continue providing and writing good stories.
Sempala has also called on the Government to come up with a more streamlined plan in order to accommodate journalists.
Recently, Dr. Alfred Driwale, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of vaccines and immunization at the Ministry of Health, said security and other emerging high risk and priority essential groups like airlines, media, prisoners, tour operators, and humanitarian workers deserve to receive Covid-19 vaccine.
Uganda targets to vaccinate 49.6% of the population about 21,936,011 people, in a phased manner. Each phase is planned to cover 20% of the population which is about 4,387,202 people. So far, Uganda has received 964,000 doses of the vaccine through donations.
Phase 1 of the vaccination exercise will focus on: Health workers estimated at 150,000, Security personnel (UPDF, Police, and Prisons); estimated at 250,000, Teachers among other essential social service providers; 550,000, Persons from the age 50 years and above, estimated at 3,348500 and Persons with underlying health conditions aged below 50 years, estimated at 500,000
In Phases 2 and 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination program, the Ministry will roll out the vaccination program to age groups between 18 and 50 years in a staggered manner until 49.6% of the Ugandan population is vaccinated and this will be guided by the local epidemiology of the disease.