BY RASHIL ADIDI
The Ministry of Health has said it will punish districts that allow Covid-19 vaccines to expire from their stores as people continue to shun the exercise due to fear and myths about the vaccines.
This comes as the district health teams continue to meet stiff resistance from communities with just a few turning up for the vaccination exercise.
Dr Alfred Driwale Program Officer for Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization (UNEPI), tells KFM that the vaccines are being manufactured with notice for short life span requiring vaccination to be done faster before the expiry dates.
He says once the drugs expire, it becomes a loss on the part of the government because they are expensively procured.
For that reason, Driwale says, any district where vaccines will expire will face the consequences which include punishing officers involved, while for those districts where the expiry is due to late deployment, no additional deliveries shall be made.
Last week, the ministry withdrew 1,296 dozes of Covid-19 vaccines from Obongi district after they suspended vaccination exercises because most of the people had recently been vaccinated against cholera.
Last Wednesday, President Yoweri Museveni also warned the Resident District Commissioners, Chief Administrative Officers and District Health Officers that they would be sacked for failing to mobilize communities for vaccination.
According to the Acting District Health Officer for Obongi district, Dominic Lomurechu, they received two types of vaccines for the exercise and utilized few.
“We received 5,652 dozes of AstraZeneca vaccines and 349 dozes of Sinovac vaccines, out of this we were able to vaccinate 115 people,” he said.
Lomurechu added: “We have a population of 172,000 people including nationals and refugees and the targeted population 11,592 people who are supposed to be vaccinated because the other ones are under aged. And so far, the vaccines that we have consumed are 4,356 dozes of AstraZeneca and the balance that we have returned to the Centre today is 1,296 dozes of AstraZeneca.”
According to the health experts, the locals in Obongi would be vaccinated against Covid-19 after 14 days. The district had earlier received 2,800 dozens of Astrazeneca vaccines from UNHCR where 600 dozes have remained unutilized.