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Mak Students in Vaccination Drive As They Agitate For Full Reopening

Makerere University students are pushing for mass COVID-19 vaccination to ensure that the institution fully reopens with physical learning activities across the board.

This stems from communication by the university management to maintain online lectures in a staggered manner in addition to limited physical appearance even after the full reopening of schools and higher institutions of learning by the government.

Under the campaign dubbed “No bending for blending, all gates for all students, open Makerere for all,” the Guild President, Shamim Nambassa, said that the partial opening of Makerere University under a fully reopened economy downplays the goal to achieve equitable education.

“In the recent past, the government guided for full opening of all post-secondary school institutions. Seems the directive fell on deaf ears as Makerere University Management continues to fancy their minting staggered manner of reporting. With this, students, part with full functional fees yet they utilize resources for only one month. Makerereans need to feel the pride of this University especially now that they are headed for centenary celebrations. This can only be achieved by the full unconditional reopening of university,” she said.

Obed Tebesiga Luganda, a second-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies notes that online studies have been challenging to him and he only hopes that vaccination of learners will help business at the institution to return to normal.

Victoria Natende, another second-year student in the School of Education explained that sitting online examinations was so costly for her and she does not wish to have a similar experience simply because of vaccination.

Benjamin Mukama from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, says that while the vaccination drive would be helpful, all student leaders need to lead by example as some are not vaccinated as yet.

However, there are students who feel that even without vaccination, the university should fully reopen just like other learning centers. For instance, Batarenga Benjamin, a third-year student of Bachelor Arts in Arts, says that the vaccination should not be mandatory as he is skeptical of the vaccines.

Similarly, Rosemary Aketcho, a student of Social Sciences revealed that some students like herself are afraid of the COVID-19 vaccination after watching their colleagues suffer sickness after taking the COVID-19 jab.

Tom Okade, the Acting Guild Health Minister, says that as the new academic year commences at Makerere on January 29, 2022, the priority group for vaccination will be first years during their orientation.

To facilitate arrangements for securing vaccines from the Ministry of Health, the student guild has taken to an online survey to establish the number of those that have not been vaccinated and those vaccinated.

At the moment, according to records by the student guild, 80 percent of the 1000 respondents to the survey have been vaccinated. This will be the second mass vaccination by Makerere student leaders. During the initial drive last month 1040 learners received the first dose of the COVID-19 jab.

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