Rukungiri district receives 5,070 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab

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RUKUNGIRI– The Rukungiri District Health Department has today received 5,070 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab as the country starts Nationwide vaccination campaign. The vaccine arrived by the National medical store van.

The arrival marks a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines countrywide in an unprecedented effort to vaccinate 49.6 per cent of the population, which is about 21,936,011, in a phased manner. 

Each phase is planned to cover 20 per cent of the population approximately 4.38 million people.

The vaccine doses were received at by the Rukungiri District Chairperson Charles Andrewson Katebiire accompanied by the District health team and the District chief adminstrative officer CAO Mr. Elias Byamungu.

Katebiire commended the government for its effort towards securing the vaccine targeting health workers in public and private health facilities who by the nature of their work are at a higher risk of contracting the disease compared to other categories of people.

He however noted that more doses are needed to cover all the district population of about 400,000 so as every citizen is reached out.

“The doses are not enough considering our population as the district because the available vaccine will cater for only 5070 people only” Katebire asserted.

Katebiire further expressed concern over need for the Ministry of health to sensitize locals on the forthcoming exercise since alot of propaganda has already hit the ground which is likely to hinder the effectiveness of the exercise not only within the district but countrwide.

Mr. David Otim an Official from the National medical stores who headed the transportation team of the vaccine noted that the jab hasn’t shown any negative results since it reacts within just 30 minutes. 

Otim condemned leaders who have so far started the propaganda on the vaccine stressing that like any other vaccine, some complications are expected however none have been seen from yesterday when the exercise commenced.

“You see in every government program, there are those who oppose like immunization programs. Yesterday I was in Buhweju and the Area RDC told us that locals believe coronavirus is not in Ankole. But let’s not fear the exercise, it’s for our own benefit” Otim added

He further cautioned the District health team to ensure proper safety of the vaccine citing an example that happened yesterday in Mayuge District were some people btried to steal about 3,000 doses.

Mr. Maradonius Tumwebigye the Rukungiri District Assistant District Health Officer noted that they will first assess the number of Frontline workers in the district to benifit from the first phase of this vaccination.

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner. UNICEF is handling the procurement and delivery of the vaccines and related supplies on behalf of the COVAX Facility.

The AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) were transported by UNICEF from India (Mumbai) to Uganda.

The COVAX facility has allocated 3,552,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Uganda for the period of January – June 2021. The remaining 2,688,000 doses are expected by June 2021.

The first phase of the FREE vaccination will target health workers in public and private health facilities who by the nature of their work are at higher risk of contracting the disease compared to other categories of people. Other target groups in order of priority are security personnel; teachers; humanitarian front-line workers, people above 50 years with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart, kidney, or liver disease.

Others are people aged 18-50 with the same underlying conditions; and other emerging high risk and priority essential groups as more vaccine doses arrive in the country.

The main objective of the National Deployment Vaccination Plan (NDVP) is to vaccinate up to 49.6 per cent of the population in a phased manner. Each phase is intended to cover 20 per cent of the population. The eligible population comprises of individuals of 18 years and above.