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Amuru RDC orders compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for frontline workers

Amuru RDC Geoffrey Osborn Oceng addressing cross-boarder traders in Elegu – Photo by Dominic Ochola

Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Amuru District Local Government has decided to use an iron hand to get all the frontline workers vaccinated against Covid-19. Most of them are reluctant to the jab.  So although being vaccinated in voluntary both in Uganda and the rest of the world, in Amuru district it will be compulsory for the front liners.

The 476 of the 486 targeted health workers in the district who have been dodging the jab have now been given 7 days by the Resident District Administrator to comply.

In March, the district health department was the first to receive 3,000 dozes of the AstraZenica vaccine from the Ministry of Health targeting 486 registered health workers but only 10 of them have been vaccinated since then.

Overall, only 45 frontline workers including security personnel, the elderly and the teachers have received their first jabs within the last 30 days. Five of the vaccines have reportedly been destroyed under unclear circumstances.

Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Resident District Commissioner, who doubles as the Chairperson COVID-19 Taskforce for the District ‘regrettably’ confirmed the development. Oceng disclosed that the District becomes the second after Serere to record very poor uptake of the vaccine.

Speaking to URN during an interview on Tuesday, Oceng said despite the exercise being voluntary, they District Security Committee as issued 7-day ultimatum to the District Health Officer, Dr Patrick Odong Olwedo to exhaust the vaccine stock or the health workers withholding their salary.

When contacted, Dr Olwedo confirmed receiving the directive. Consequently, he says he has cut short his official trip to Kampala to get back to Amuru District and rally his team towards dispensing the vaccine to the beneficiaries in the five designated health centres that include Otwe, Pabbo, Labongogali, Kaladima and Atiak Health Centre IV.

Several health workers and teachers who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity for fear of being reprimanded said they are against being forced to take the vaccine when it is supposed the be voluntary. They also point out thatthat the vaccine has already generated a lot skepticism given blood clotting allegations and its suspension in Western countries of the world.

Amuru’s vaccine stock is expected to cover 1,500 people. The District also recorded 30% the COVID-19 infections during the height of the deadly killer virus outbreak in the country in 2020, becoming the epitome of the virus as a result of the influx of cross-border cargo truckers en-route to South Sudan.

There has been mixed reactions among Ugandans on the uptake of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ever since  the country received 864,000 doses to strengthen her fight against the infections.

Cumulatively, Uganda has confirmed 40,751 COVID-19 infections, 40,379 recoveries and 334 death toll.



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