ARUA LEADERS CONCERNED BY PREVAILING VACCINE APATHY AMONG RESIDENTS

Arua RCC, Alice Akello chairing a Covid-19 task-force meeting

BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU            

ARUA: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021

To scale vaccine uptake, the Arua City Covid-19 task-force had directed all health centres participating in the inoculation programme to adopt outreaches to churches and mosques.

But the team that went to Etori parish church in former Pajulu sub-county last Sunday received the shock of their lives.

“After the prayers, not one but everybody went away, leaving the outreach team to return without vaccinating a single person,” Mahmud Elias, a surveillance team member reported.

Concerned by this level of vaccine apathy, the task-force headed by the resident city commissioner, Alice Akello, is scrambling to organize an urgent community dialogue to try to figure out what exactly is driving this attitude.

“People are dying of Covid-19 but some people are just stubbornly refusing to get vaccinated. I am disappointed that the people we are trying to serve are not listening,” lamented Akello.

Ironically Etori parish is the area where both the City Mayor, Sam Wadri Nyakua and the city council speaker come from.

The LC1 chairpersons and the village health team members from there have recently been paid their Covid-19 facilitation, according to Dr Pontius Apangu, the principal medical officer for Arua City.

The Etori debacle comes at a time when Arua city has just vaccinated 9% of the eligible 182,849 people who are due for vaccination within the city.

Even then of those who have received the vaccines, only 33% (5,450) have completed their two doses according to the tally by the health office.

And Pajulu sub-county in particular has 35,646 people eligible for vaccination out of whom 1,319 have at least taken a jab, giving a performance of 4%.

As of Tuesday, the health authorities reported that they had a total balance of 1,325 vaccines in the health centres excluding Arua regional referral hospital.

These are 293 AstraZeneca, 365 Moderna and 667 Sinovac at Adumi HCIV, Ayivuni HCIII, Ombidriondrea HCIII, Aroi HCIII, Orivu HCIII, Riki HCIII, Ediofe HCIII, Pajulu HCIII and River Oli HCIII.

The task-force has resolved to intensify community mobilization and arrange more outreach vaccination programmes targeting areas where that are still least covered.

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