Many Ugandans have Vaccination cards instead of vaccination certificates
The lack of funds allocated to data entry during the COVID-19 vaccination exercise has led to delays in the processing of certificates.
According to the Ministry of Health guidelines on vaccination certificates, all vaccinated persons are supposed to generate a vaccination certificate online 14 days after receiving their second vaccine jab or one dose in the case of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
However, persons who were vaccinated more than 10 months ago are still facing challenges accessing their vaccination certificates online.
Officials from the health ministry attribute this to slow data entry and the high demand for vaccine certificates.
Paul Mbaka, the head statistician at the ministry of health who is also in charge of all COVID-19 vaccination data says a significant investment was needed for the vaccination exercise.
Mbaka adds that money should have been set apart for data entrants who were competent with collecting such data.
In addition to poor investment, Mbaka cites the ever-changing protocols for the vaccination exercise. Prior to the start of vaccination, the procedure released by the health ministry in February 2021 indicated that all persons would have to register prior to going to the vaccination site. On the registration form, information such as national ID details, address would be captured prior to their getting the jab.
However, a few days after the campaign was launched in March 2021, health ministry officials changed this protocol which led to the primary use of registration books. The use of the books has led to delays according to Mbaka since all the details had to be re-entered electronically which led to delays.
Dr Immaculate Ampaire, the deputy program manager of UNEPI says at the beginning of the vaccination campaign, emphasis was put on acquiring vaccines but almost nothing was set aside to transport the vaccines or even pay for data entrants.
“So far over 1.3 trillion has been spent on procuring vaccines with over 50 percent of this used to procure vaccines and pay health workers. We initially didn’t plan for logistics and data entry,” she said.
The health ministry has embarked on an exercise to recruit data entrants at the district level to increase the rate at which vaccination data is entered into the national system. So far over 100 data entrants have been recruited.
Mbaka says this will go a long way to clearing all the remaining backlog.
“We received funds last year meant for this and we have been able to procure equipment but also hire data entrants to assist us. This will help us clear the little backlog that we have,” he said.
According to Mbaka, they have entered over 95 percent of all the information into the central system, and soon all vaccinated Ugandans will be able to generate vaccination certificates online.
Last week, Uganda marked one year since it launched COVID-19 vaccination in the country. To date, over 17 million doses have been administered with over 7 million Ugandans being fully vaccinated.