Slow uptake of second, booster shot of Covid-19 vaccine worries health officials

Thursday January 13 2022
New Content Item (1)

A woman receives Covid-19 jab in Kigali. The government has stepped up campaigns to increase uptake of vaccine across the country. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

By Ange Iliza

The government has raised red flag of the slow uptake of Covid-19 vaccine in the country.

According to Ministry of Health, the country has a doses of vaccine in the race to vaccinate 70 percent of the population.

“There is a two-million persistent gap between people who received their first doses and the second. Some do not even show up at all after the first jab. It is a challenge because we have to administer all the available doses as soon as we can. The same challenge applies to booster shots,” said Mr Julien Niyingabira, manager of Rwanda health communication Center.

Despite the vaccine mandates in place that prohibit the unvaccinated to access most public places and services, nearly three million people who need to be fully vaccinated are not.

The Ministry of Health and Rwanda Biomedical Center have spread vaccination sites across the country for accessibility, including mobile sites.

Reasons given often include religious beliefs, misinformation, and people who think they can access the vaccine anytime, added Mr Niyingabira.


Health ministry recently announced that the country has enough vaccine stock to inoculate 9.1 million people it targets.

“Now we need people to come and take their shots,” said Hassan Sibomana, director of vaccination programme Unit Maternal, Child and Community Health at Rwanda Biomedical Center.

Rwanda recently received 999,180 doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the USA on January 2. Two more million vaccine doses are expected to arrive this month.

Available statistics indicate that there are over 10,000 people in Kigali who have refused to take the vaccine.

Currently, there are vaccine mandates that require public officers such as local leaders, teachers and health professionals to be fully vaccinated.

To access public places and services such as markets, buses, events and meetings, people are requyired to show proof of vaccination of both doses. '

Currently, 5.5 million people have been fully vaccinated, out of 9.1 million people who are targeted. Some 7.7 million people have received the first dose while around 197,000 have gotten their booster shots.