URN I – The Gulu district Covid-19 taskforce targets to vaccinate up to 23,496 people against Covid-19 in a month-long drive that kicked off last week. The District Health Department received 2,318 doses of the Sinovac, 2,506 doses of Moderna and 20,990 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Unlike Sinovac whose shelf life goes beyond a year, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines will expire on 29 and 30 of November 2021 respectively. It is against this background that the health department is racing against time to rally the public to consume the available vaccines before their expiration.
Dr Kenneth Canna, the Gulu District Acting Health Officer says they are using local radios through hourly DJ mentions to reach out to different audiences and encourage the public to go to the nearest health facilities and get vaccinated. Dr Canna explained that they are also using corporate companies like Nile Breweries to reach out to different audiences as well as static programmes across different health facilities.
“Last week, the taskforce through Gulu Regional Referral Hospital backed by Nile Breweries Ltd vaccinated over 500 people in a two-day vaccination drive held at Kaunda grounds. The statistics of those who were vaccinated are still being compiled, but over 1,000 people have been vaccinated across the nine health centres,” Dr Canna said.
Charles Lakidi Omayolwak, 49, a resident of Kasubi central village who got his jab at Kaunda grounds lauded the government for opening up the vaccination exercise to everybody.
Betty Piloya, a resident of Olayilong village in Bardege-Layibi division told URN that she has for long wanted to vaccinate but was always turned down because the government had initially targeted frontline workers only.
Gulu District Speaker Phoebe Ayoo Obol who completed all the two cycles of her vaccination said the demand for the jab from the public is now gaining momentum since there is no adverse impact of the medicine being reported.
Gulu City Acting Health Officer Yoweri Idibia noted that the public is tired of adhering to the standard operating procedures recommended by the Ministry of Health. He noted that people no longer wear masks or observe social distancing rules which are threatening a surge in novel cases.
Since June when President Yoweri Museveni imposed a second lockdown, Gulu has recorded 413 cumulative confirmed cases of the virus. Currently, at least 18 patients are receiving treatment under home-based care, the majority of them in Patiko sub county.
This follows the slow pace of uptake of the vaccines by the initial target category which includes among others, the elderly, teachers, security forces and health personnel.