Covid-19 Mass Vaccination in Gulu Extended Over Low Uptake

The Gulu District Health Educator William Onyai told Uganda Radio Network in an interview Friday that they have only been able to achieve half of the projected targeted population in the one-week mass vaccination campaign.
A man recieves covid-19 vaccination last month in Kitgum Municipality.

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The mass covid-19 vaccination campaign launched in Gulu district and Gulu city have been extended by three more days due to the low uptake. 

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng on Thursday last week launched a one-week mass vaccination campaign for Acholi Sub-region from Gulu Regional Referral Hospital targeting some 900,000 individuals.

In Gulu district and Gulu City, health officials targeted to have about 154,364 people vaccinated by the end of the one-week campaign from 111 vaccination centers (66 in Gulu city and 45 in Gulu district).

However, the Gulu District Health Educator William Onyai says that they have only been able to achieve half of the projected targeted population in the one-week mass vaccination campaign. 

Onyai says the exercise which should have ended on Thursday has since been extended up to Sunday after only 50,709 people out of an estimated 154,364 people got vaccinated.

Statistics from the District health department indicate that 23,463 people received their first and second covid-19 jab in Gulu city against the target of 17,110. Meanwhile, in the district, only 27,246 people were vaccinated against the target of 58,434 people in the one-week exercise.

Onyai notes that whereas the community was aware of the vaccination exercise through mobilization, many were purposely reluctant to get the vaccine. He also adds that vaccine misinformation spread on social media and within the community played a negative role in influencing a section of people against receiving the covid-19 jab.

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According to Onyai, the mass vaccination campaign began on a good note and cited that on the first few days, both the district and city vaccination centers registered high turn up. 

For instance, Onyai notes that on the seventh day alone, a total of 4,129 people got vaccinated in Gulu District while 3, 714 people were vaccinated in Gulu City. He however says the turn up dropped towards the eighth day but notes that they are working hard to mobilize the masses through corporate institutions and religious leaders.

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The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah while addressing the press early this week rallied locals in the region to embrace the covid-19 vaccine and disregard negative messages circulating on social media against vaccination.

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Oulanyah says when a larger percentage of the community is vaccinated against covid-19, it will guide the government on key decisions concerning the reopening of the economy.

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