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Vaccination or Not, Economy Will Fully Reopen in January-Museveni

Initially, President Museveni had tagged school re-opening and opening of other sectors of the economy to the vaccination of people above 18 years However, addressing the nation on Thursday, Museveni seemed to make a U-turn and said that they will not force Ugandans to get vaccinated.

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President Museveni has said that schools and other sectors of the economy will re-open in January 2022 irrespective of whether people are vaccinated or not. Some of the sectors that have remained closed to date include educational institutions, bars, theatres and cinemas.

Initially, President Museveni had tagged school re-opening and opening of other sectors of the economy to the vaccination of people above 18 years However, addressing the nation on Thursday, Museveni seemed to make a U-turn and said that they will not force Ugandans to get vaccinated.

Museveni however warned that those who don’ get vaccinated do so at their peril.

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Museveni said that the government decided to delay school re-opening to avoid having child-headed families.

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According to President Museveni, the country has enough vaccines in stock and is expecting more vaccines by the end of the year.  He says if people get vaccinated, by the end of this year, over 12.8 million Ugandans would have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Records from the health ministry indicate that few persons aged 50 and above have been vaccinated. Originally 3.3 people in this group were targeted but data from the health ministry as of October 16 shows that only 155,762 persons in the group have been fully vaccinated.

Museveni appealed to Ugandans above 50 years to get vaccinated since they are susceptible to covid-19. 

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Uganda has received more than 9.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. At the moment, an estimated 4.5 million doses are left in stock, this includes 1.4 million doses of the single-dose Johnson& Johnson vaccine. However, health ministry data shows as of October 26, only 2.9 million doses of the vaccine had been used.

Uganda is the only country in Africa where schools remain fully closed for close to two years. Data collected from UNICEF shows that Uganda has closed schools longest in the world followed by Nepal, and Bolivia.

Although there was a partial reopening for some classes between October 2020 and April this year, the schools were again closed when the country was hit by the second wave of the pandemic. Despite registering low Covid-19 infections and deaths, schools in the country have been closed since March 2020.

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