Experts have said that the COVID-19 vaccines will not offer
lifetime immunity against the disease.
Uganda is set to start vaccinating against the pandemic today using the
However, the vaccine can offer protection for only eight months at
the maximum. In addition to this, the vaccine does not protect against
infections but severe cases or deaths caused by the disease.
The programme manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on
Immunization-(UNEPI), Dr Alfred Driwale, says immunity picked through
vaccination will give the body a chance to fight against the disease.
He says people who will be vaccinated can get re-infected with the disease.
Vaccination however enables them to get milder forms of the disease. For
instance, persons, who might have developed severe cases of the disease, might
end up with mild or moderate forms of the disease.
"What we know now is that the vaccines can offer protection
for up to eight months. After this time, someone can get infected with
COVID-19. The only difference is that they will not get severe forms of the
disease or even die. But this is what we know now. Future research might show
that protection can last even up to two years or forever," Driwale explains.
As of Tuesday, over 40,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country.
This number might reduce after vaccination but only if people adhere to public
health measures like wearing facial masks, washing hands, avoiding gatherings
and not touching their eyes or mouth or nose.
Dr Rhoda Wanyenze, a public health expert and also a member of the
vaccine committee says even with vaccination, people must wear masks, wash
hands and avoid gatherings since infection can occur after
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Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health says it's important to
follow the public health measures because even after vaccination people can get
infected with either variants or existing forms of the disease.
Records from countries that have vaccinated show that the rate of death and ICU
admissions has dropped by over 30 percent since vaccination started.
The government is planning on vaccinating 49 percent of the population which
amounts to around 22 million people. To carry out this venture, over 1 Trillion
Shillings is needed. When asked whether there's value for money to protect
people for just eight months, the minister said vaccination is the only way to
control the disease.
“Vaccination is the only proven method to control this disease. In
a situation where there's no available treatment, vaccination is the only way
we can stop severe cases or deaths caused by COVID-19 from occurring. If we do
not vaccinate, we might get an increase in deaths when the second wave that we
are expecting hits. We cannot sit and look on," Dr Aceng said.