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Health Ministry Cautions Ugandans on Mixing COVID-19 Vaccines

The call comes following the arrival of 647,080 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at time when many Ugandans who received the first jab are waiting to receive their second jab. Preliminary records from the health ministry show that over 150,000 people are due for their second dose

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The Ministry of Health has cautioned Ugandans on mixing COVID-19 vaccines in an attempt to get fully vaccinated.

The call comes following the arrival of 647,080 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at a time when many Ugandans who received the first jab are waiting to receive their second jab. Preliminary records from the health ministry show that over 150,000 people are due for their second dose.

Now health officials are warning desperate Ugandans in need of a second jab to use the same vaccines. Dr. Alfred Driwale, the programme manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization says the side effects associated with mixing vaccines is unknown. He says people should be patient and wait for the respective vaccines.

"Please do not cut the line and try to get Moderna yet the first time you got AstraZeneca. These vaccines are different and the possible side effects of mixing both of them are unknown. You will go and get vaccinated and come back to us confused," said Dr. Driwale.

According to Dr. Driwale, people should only seek vaccines at designated health facilities that have qualified staff who know what vaccines need to be used.

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All the vaccines that the country has received have been donations. So far, the country has received 2,153,140 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 300,000 doses of China's Sinovac vaccine.

For a person to be fully vaccinated, most times they need two doses of the same vaccines.

According to scientific studies carried out in England and Germany, only AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines have proved to be safe. In January the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention also said that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines can be mixed in special situations.

Other studies are ongoing to see the effects of mixing Moderna and Novavax vaccine and also AstraZeneva and Sputnik V.

According to Dr. Driwale, the country's vaccination policy is not to mix vaccines. He says while the country will use different brands of vaccines, people getting vaccinated will use the same vaccines.

Vaccination for the select priority groups and persons seeking a second dose resumed yesterday in Kampala and is scheduled to end on September 10th, 2021. As of September 5th, data from the health ministry showed that 1,044,871 people have received one jab of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 431,655 had received two jabs.

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