The Uganda Prisons Service has said that it has so far vaccinated only 18 percent of its 66,832 inmates across the country.
Frank Baine, the Uganda Prisons Spokesperson, said only 2% of the already vaccinated prisoners have received the second dose.
Baine explained that their target is to vaccinate at least 50 percent of the inmates to reduce the severity and rate of infection of Covid-19. Ever since Covid-19 was detected in Uganda last year, 1,920 inmates have contracted the virus.
“Most of our inmates who got the virus have recovered. We have had a cumulative number of 1920 inmates but 1894 have recovered. Even the 272 staff that had got the virus, 255 have fully recovered from the disease,” Baine said.
The Prisons Service has registered seven deaths that include four inmates and three UPS, staff.
Baine said they currently have 36 active cases of Covid-19. These include twenty-two prisoners and fourteen staff who are being treated in isolation centres in Gulu, Jinja and Mbarara.
Despite the meagre numbers of vaccinated prisoners, Baine said 99 percent of UPS have been vaccinated against Covid-19. He adds that the staff who have received two doses of AstraZeneca stand at 78 percent.
“The good news is that we have received 17,520 doses of AstraZeneca and we believe these will help us hit the 50 percent mark,” Baine added.
Johnson Byabasaija, the Commissioner-General of Police has lifted a ban on visiting prisoners.
However, Byabashaija has set up strict conditions for whoever wants to see an inmate in any of the government prisoners. According to Byabashaija, only vaccinated visitors will be allowed to access the prisons.
“You are allowed to visit prisoners. But if you are not vaccinated you are not welcome. Anybody going to visit a prisoner must be vaccinated and must present Covid19 negative results obtained within 72 hours,” Baine said.
Testing for Covid-19 costs 50,000 shillings and above. Those who cannot afford the testing costs have been advised to always wait for their relatives in courts of law. Most trials and hearings are conducted via video conferencing.