The Uganda contingent serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM, has begun COVID-19 vaccination for its military and police personnel in the mission.
The Government of Uganda has delivered 6,500 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, to supplement vaccines received from the FGS under the COVAX programme which was administered to their Health Care Workers and the vulnerable groups.
At a short ceremony before the troops were vaccinated on Monday in Mogadishu, the AMISOM Uganda contingent commander, Brig. Gen. Don Nabasa, urged the soldiers to step forward and ensure that they all get vaccinated.
“The vaccines will save your lives and prevent you from becoming seriously ill if you get infected by the deadly COVID-19 virus. It will also significantly reduce your risk of getting infected and infecting others, so it is important that we all take it”, said the contingent commander.
The AMISOM military Chief of Operations, Col. Allan Kalanzi, welcomed the steps taken by the government of Uganda which will complement efforts by AMISOM to contain the spread of virus. “AMISOM Force Headquarters commends the efforts the leadership of Sector 1 to vaccinate its troops as part of the overall objective to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
The deputy commander of the AMISOM Uganda contingent, Col. John Winston Mugarura, admitted that the coronavirus outbreak had to an extent impacted on military operations, and swift intervention was necessary.
The Commanding Officer of the AMISOM Level II Hospital in Mogadishu, Capt. Dr Gideon Nuwagira, reiterated that the vaccinations would boost efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Many of the soldiers that turned up for the vaccination exercise thanked the leadership of the Uganda People’s Defence Force, UPDF, for delivering the vaccines.
“I am grateful to AMISOM and the leadership of our country for providing us with the vaccines,” said Lt. Agatha Asiimwe, a records officer of for AMISOM Uganda contingent.
After taking the shot, Lt. Col. Saleh Isabirye, the AMISOM Uganda contingent engineer said, “I am grateful to be among the first beneficiaries to be vaccinated against this invisible enemy”.
The Uganda contingent of AMISOM is responsible for securing in Sector 1. This covers the Lower Shabelle region, which includes the Halane Basecamp in Mogadishu.