Mbale and Manafwa district officials are finding difficulty convincing health workers about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
During the launch of the exercise on Tuesday at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and Bubulo Health Center IV respectively, district officials found a mixed reception as they started giving health workers the jab that is meant to protect them against the Coronavirus.
At Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, several health officials who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity said they will not get the vaccine until they see the president vaccinated. During his televised address on Sunday, president, Yoweri Museveni said that he was yet to decide on which COVID-19 vaccine to use.
The president’s revelation has raised questions in public spheres on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being used in the country. Currently, Resident District Commissioners have joined District Health Officers and other leaders to convince the targeted groups to accept the vaccine.
RDC is vaccinated
Ahamada Washaki, the Manafwa Resident District Commissioner who got his first jab at Bubulo health Center IV said that the country has made progress in the fight against Covid-19 but some people are doing whatever they can to antagonize the vaccination program. He says those spreading false information against the vaccine are anti-people since the government cannot decide to kill its citizens.
“I do not think as a Government we can choose to kill health workers. You think we can decide to kill on the RDCs, to kill all police? This vaccine is certified, so those detractors fighting it should stop,” Washaki said.
However, Emmanuel Welukule, the Assistant Manafwa District Health Officer, says that they expect some people to have reservation since this is the first Covid-19 vaccination in the country. He reveals that they have tried to explain to the health workers that the vaccine is safe for human life.
“Because it is the first one we expect some people to fear. We will go on radios to tell people it is safe, and we shall continue sensitizing people and our hope is that the health workers will take it and improve safety against COVID,” Welukule said.
Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo, the Director of Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, says that for a vaccine to get approval for use in humans it must go through a number of tests and trials. He urges people to gain confidence in the vaccine and avoid listening to those opposed to vaccination, saying they do not mean good for the country.
COVID vaccine is like any other
Pamela Watuwa, the Mbale Resident City Commissioner, said the Covid-19 vaccine is just like any other vaccine, which should be embraced by everybody seeking better health.
“This is like a signature that all Ugandans, especially the leaders, should embrace. It is safe, and will help us fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Asumin Nasike, the Mbale Resident District Commissioner said health workers need to build confidence in government because it wants them alive to save the next generation. Nasike warned those spreading rumours that the vaccine is not safe to stop immediately.
Benard Elly Mujasi, Mbale District LCV Chairperson has asked health workers who turned up for the launch of the vaccination to implore their colleagues to embrace the vaccines.
He said the vaccine is purely scientific and that no government would love to kill its citizens. He said the health workers are among those at a high risk, which is why they have to embrace the vaccine.
There are concerns about AstraZeneca vaccine following its suspension in some countries after some of the beneficiaries complained of effects like blood clots. The World Health Organization has however stated that the vaccine is safe, and there is not direct link between it and the cases of blood clots.