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Amuru halts mass Covid-19 vaccination over low uptake

Covid-19 vaccination

Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Amuru district health officials have halted the mass Covid-19 vaccination exercise over the low turn up of people.

The district embarked on the second phase of mass covid-19 vaccination on March 15, with the exercise meant to last for a week. This was after the health ministry launched the second phase of the mass covid-19 vaccination for the Acholi sub-region in Gulu city on March 11.

But Amuru Resident District Commissioner Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, says that the mass vaccination campaign has failed to attract locals arguing that there was an extremely low turn up, three days after it was launched.

Oceng says 74 health workers were deployed to conduct the campaign across the district and each health worker was expected to vaccinate at least 200 people but the vaccine uptake has been rather too low.

Oceng who is also the chairperson of the Covid-19 taskforce says he has since directed the halting of the mass covid-19 vaccination campaign pending reorganization. He however notes the static and routine vaccinations in all the recommended health facilities will continue.

According to Oceng, the mass vaccination drive will resume by March 23 (Wednesday) once the community has been fully mobilized and resources for the campaign aligned with an organized vaccination team.

Following the low vaccine uptake, the district covid-19 task force has come out with several measures to boost the uptake of the vaccine among locals.

The measures according to Oceng include the institution of spontaneous roadblocks that will run between March 23 to March 30 to check the vaccination status of all pedestrians, motorists, and passengers.

Other measures are a ban on boda boda and taxi operators from carrying unvaccinated passengers, mandatory identification of vaccination cards to access public offices, schools, churches, markets, and health facilities.

Denis Okello, the Assistant District Health Officer says they are changing the vaccination strategy by conducting door to door covid-19 vaccination for eligible persons.

He notes that their old strategy of waiting for the locals to approach the various vaccination points has failed not only in the first but also in the second phase of the mass vaccination campaign. Okello says misinformation circulating against the vaccines within the community has also demoralized the locals from taking the jab.

Health officials also believe the campaign on Tuberculosis and Sanitation week running concurrently with the mass Covid-19 vaccination has affected mobilization since the same Village Health Teams-VHTs are being used for all the programs.

Amuru district is among the areas in the Acholi sub-region that performed poorly in the first round of the accelerated mass covid-19 vaccination launched by the health ministry in November last year.

According to statistics from the health department, only 46,000 people out of the targeted 110,112 were vaccinated in the first phase of the mass vaccination last year.

Over the weekend, Gulu District Health Educator William Onyai also noted that there was a low turn up of people for the second phase of the vaccination in both Gulu district and Gulu city.

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