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Dozens of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Wasted In Kitgum Over Low Uptake-Report

According to health experts, the AstraZeneca vial can be re-refrigerated but after first opening, the cumulative storage time at room temperature must not exceed 6 hours and the total cumulative storage time must not exceed 48 hours.
A vial of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine ready to be used at Kitgum General Hospital. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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Dozens of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered by the Health Ministry to Kitgum District went to waste due to low uptake by residents, a report by the District Health Department has revealed.  Kitgum district recently run out of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, less than two months after receiving 3,120 doses from the Health Ministry.

Statistics from the Health department indicate that 3,137 people were vaccinated from March 17 when the vaccination exercise began. But Dr. Alex Olwedo, Kitgum District Health Officer revealed on Tuesday during an emergency task force meeting that up to 176 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine went to waste. Dr. Olwedo noted that there was a low turn up of people at the start of the vaccination exercise rendering some of the vaccine vials that were already punctured unusable due to short shelf life.  

According to health experts, the AstraZeneca vial can be re-refrigerated but after first opening the cumulative storage time at room temperature must not exceed 6 hours and the total cumulative storage time must not exceed 48 hours. He said that in some Health Centers, only three people were vaccinated a day rendering the whole opened vial useless.

William Komakech, the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner and Chairperson of the District Covid-19 Taskforce acknowledged the wastage of the vaccines.  He notes that vaccine wastage was recorded at Kitgum General Hospital, Hakuna Laber HCIII, Namokora HCV, Loborom HCIII, Pajimo HCVII, Mucwini HCIII, Kitgum Matidi HCIII, Omiya Anyima HCIII, Okidi HCIII and Orom HCIII. Komakech however says St Joseph’s Hospital Kitgum that received 350 vials of the vaccine utilized it without recording any wastage.

Luo

//Cue in: “Wabedo ki wastage…  

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//cue in: “The Ministry had…  

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Komakech noted that although the vaccines have since been completed, they have notified the Health Ministry, which has assured them that the next batch of vaccines could arrive in the country by next week. At the same meeting, the task force recommended mass and random testing of people within the district to ascertain the spread of Coronavirus disease among the population.

Komakech says few people have been turning up voluntarily for testing making it hard for the health team to understand the trend of the virus in the district. He says a testing camp will be set up targeting vendors in the market and the general public.

//cue in: “Today we held…

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Kitgum District has registered two new Covid-19 cases in the last week since the resurgence of the virus, according to reports from the health department. 

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