Kasese to roll out Covid-19 vaccination in schools as cases re-emerge

Kasese District health authorities have decided to carry out a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign in schools following a resurgence of infections.

This, the authorities, say will be the best way to control the spread of the diseases due to non-compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs and failure by the schools to feed data into the school surveillance system.

The vaccination will target all children between 12 to 17 years of age and will be conducted between June 15th and 21st, 2022. Kasese District has registered 15 new COVID-19 cases in a period of five days. Fourteen of the affected are learners from schools within the municipality and one traveler from Ntoroko District, according to officials from the health department.

Prior to the re-opening of schools, the government drafted guidelines aimed at creating a safe environment for schools amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these was the school surveillance system that was supposed to enable health and education officials to easily identify possible clusters of the disease.

However, Kasese district authorities, say that very few schools have been submitting reports, which has created a blind spot. In addition, there has been a total disregard for SOPs including wearing face masks and social distancing.

Samuel Kabinga, the Kasese district disease surveillance focal person, says that as cases re-emerge, vaccination of children has been identified by authorities as one of the means to reduce transmission and infections in schools. He says the exercise will target children who missed the vaccination and those who received only one jab.

Kabinga says all the 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases are under home-based care and are in stable condition. He adds VHT’s are monitoring them on a daily basis to record the progress of their condition.

Kabinga adds that the district is also strengthening the school health surveillance reporting.

Kasese Resident District Commissioner, Lt. Joe Walusimbi, says that the situation could get out of hand if there is no adherence to the COVID- 19 control guidelines established by the ministry of health. He says the district still has vaccines and appeals to the unvaccinated people to get the jab.

Earlier last month, the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni said vaccination of children should be by consent from parents. In March, the Ministry of Health revealed that they were arranging to vaccinate 16 million children between 5 and 12 years of age.

According to the initial plans, the vaccination was expected to be carried out in May and June during a mass vaccination exercise. The children will be vaccinated using the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved for young people.

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