Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Rosette Kyarikunda, a Busitema University student died last week after allegedly developing complications resulting from a Covid-19 jab.
Although the official medical report detailing what claimed her life is yet to be made public, those who took care of the fifth-year medical student at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and Kiruddu National Referral hospital gave their account to mourners during prayers for the deceased attended by officials from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Rogers Senyonjo said that the mother of a two-year-old daughter got her jab on August 19th, 2021, and got a headache, which they initially thought would be resolved with simple pain killers.
He however said that the pain increased, prompting her admission to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital where she was doing her internship rotation. Ssenyonjo said that they conducted a rapid malaria test and when it came out negative, they decided to do a blood smear as a follow up in order to check what could have actually gone wrong.
He says that they did a CT scan on the deceased’s request, which established that she actually had cerebral edema also known as brain inflammation that causes fluid to form in the brain. It’s at that point that they referred her to Kiruddu Referral Hospital in Kampala.
While in the emergency ward at Kiruddu, Dr. Ivan Lumu says that the late Kyarikunda complained of severe headache and chest pain for three days until she got unconscious and tests revealed she had severe cerebral malaria.
This case was reported to both the drug adverse reactions wing of the National Drug Authority and WHO. In his remarks, Prof. Anthony Onimisi, the representative from the WHO said since COVID-19 is a new disease, there is need for thorough investigations before releasing a final report since experts too are learning on the job.
Onimisi, who is also the technical officer for the COVID-19 response at the UN agency, said this incident shouldn’t scare away medical workers or even the general population from the jabs because they have been tested and are generally safe.
He said such adverse effects are being recorded by scientists as ‘Adverse events of special interest and that cerebral edema as confirmed in the deceased’s case is a pointer that they will follow up.
However, medical workers who attended the mass called for the scrapping of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for medical workers, saying they should be allowed to make an informed decision. It should be noted that Uganda has faced a challenge of vaccine hesitancy among health workers.
While medical workers were among the topmost priority group when the government started inoculations in March, more teachers have taken the jab compared to health workers. As of the beginning of this week, just 47,165 health workers of the 150,000 targeted had been fully vaccinated against 70,241 teachers.