BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2021
Dr Pontius Apangu said vaccination is a globally proven health intervention where behavioral and mindset interventions cannot work to address a health crisis.
“People have had mixed feelings-that Covid-19 does not exist- but when they started dying, they cried to the government and the government looked out for donors who gave us vaccines,” the Arua City’s principal medical officer recounted.
Dr Apangu said vaccination is free and called on skeptics such as hesitant teachers and medical workers to lead by example by getting vaccinated.
He made the remarks in an interview with Kigezi News Agency as the country embarks on mass vaccination to combat Covid-19.
Last week, Uganda received 196,800 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines, marking the first time that it is going to use vaccines bought with its own money for immunization against Covid-19.
The vaccines that arrived on October 7, 2021 constituted the first batch of a total of nine million doses ordered by the government through the African union arrangement, AVAT.
Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary, ministry of health confirmed that the government released sh120 billion to the health ministry and the National Medical Stores (NMS) for vaccine procurement and handling.
She said of those funds, sh55.8 billion was disbursed as down payment to access the Johnson and Johnson vaccines, and sh50.4 billion has been released to procure 2,060,400 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine expected to arrive in early December as part of an order of 17,829,400 doses that was placed with Covax facility.
Prior to the arrival of Johnson and Johnson, the ministry has been using AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the ongoing inoculation programme.
The latest acquisition brings to 5,690,363 the total dose of vaccines so far acquired for vaccination in Uganda.
For Arua City and Arua district, Dr Apangu said in its latest distribution, the ministry and NMS sent 3,150 doses of Moderna vaccines of which 1,400 were for Arua district while the city took 1,750 doses.
They also received 880 doses of AstraZeneca of which the city took 500 doses, leaving the district with 380 doses.
To-date, the Arua city which has opened ten sites for vaccination has inoculated about 15,000 residents of which 11,000 people have so far taken in their first injection while only 4,000 have completed their two-shot inoculation regime.
“This means that many people still have incomplete protection,” he said as he urged the people to go to the nearest vaccination centres to get their dose.
Dr Apangu emphasized that the focus now turns to all people from 18 years and above, though priority remains the teachers, medical workers, those with comorbidity, the elderly and armed forces personnel.