Adolescents in the City of Kigali started receiving their first jabs of vaccines in schools during a newly rolled out vaccination campaign targeting children aged 12 years and above. Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) on November 23, stepped up a mass vaccination campaign, starting with three schools, one in each of the three city districts. The exercise was held yesterday at Groupe (GS) Gahanga 1 in Kicukiro District, College Saint Andre in Nyarugenge and Group Scolaire Kagugu in Gasabo District. The New Times visited GS Kagugu, and GS Gahanga 1 where a large number of students, as observed, stood in lines to receive vaccine doses and talk to some of them about their participation in this campaign. All the inoculated students had to present pre-signed consent forms from their parents or guardians before taking the jab. Shemsa Uzamukunda, a senior three student at GS Kagugu, said that she is grateful for the opportunity, saying that her school recorded a high number of positive cases a few months back. “I am grateful to be vaccinated…our school used to record high number of positive cases but from now on I hope the numbers are going to drop since we are receiving our first jab,” she said She added that as a 16-year old, she was always worried about how she would get her first dose since only adults used to get vaccinated yet she saw her young colleagues at school getting infected by Covid-19. Emelyne Uwayesu, another beneficiary from GS Gahanga 1, said that she was afraid to take the vaccine at first, owing to rumours that the vaccine had side effects on those who took it. However, she said that her parents welcomed this because they have received their jabs in previous campaigns and helped her to understand the importance of it to her and they collaborated in signing the consent as well. According to information from schools, by Tuesday, 1,845 students at GS Kagugu and 1,200 in GS Gahanga 1 had had their parents sign their consent forms. Gaspard Uwayezu, the State Minister of Primary and Secondary Education said they have a target of vaccinating the children aged 12 and above across the country adding that many turned up for the vaccines in all sites and this means a lot for the education sector. According to Twagirayezu, school-going children who fall within this age bracket (930,000) and the plan is to have all of them vaccinated. “We are inoculating the first dose to the adolescence in three sites, to the children whom their parents signed the consent and no one will go without being vaccinated, and this is a huge milestone because we will no longer face interruption in education like before since the children are now vaccinated,” he said. He said that so far, they had not encountered any particular challenge and urged the parents who have not signed the consent forms to do so that they can get their first jabs. Commenting on what is being done for children in boarding schools, Twagirayezu said that there are different ways which are being devised by schools to reach parents so that they can be able to sign for their children. It is also expected that the vaccination drive is going to be extended to different schools in Kigali and later upcountry schools. As of November 23, over 5.6 million people had received the first dose while 2.9 million people have been fully vaccinated.