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Fewer Females Embracing COVID-19 Vaccination in Kitgum

Jennifer Lalam, a single mother of two and resident of second Jenge village in Central Division, Kitgum Municipality says she hasn’t been vaccinated because of the anticipated bad side effects of the vaccine that has been widely spoken about. Lalam says there were rumours that the vaccine could make a woman barren while men develop erectile dysfunction.
A nurse draws AstraZeneca vaccine into a syringe at Kitgum General Hospital.

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There are fewer females among persons going for the vaccination against COVID-19 in Kitgum district.

A total of 5,696 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 1,847 finished the second dose of the vaccine since the rollout of mass vaccination by the Kitgum District Health department early this year. But records show that only 37.4 per cent of the total number of people vaccinated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines were female.

Dr Henry Okello Otto, the Acting Kitgum District Health Officer told Uganda Radio Network-URN in an interview Tuesday that the low turn of women for vaccination is worrying. Dr Okello says whereas women have been known to embrace other health services more than men, it’s shocking that only a handful of them are turning up for COVID-19 vaccination.

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Cue out…have been vaccinated.”//

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According to Dr Okello, women form the backbone of homes adding that it’s important for them to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families from the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19

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Available statistics also show that a few elderly persons and people with underlying health conditions such as HIV/Aids, Diabetes, High blood pressure, and hypertension received the COVID-19 jab. Only 432 elderly persons in the district have received COVID-19 jab while only four with comorbidities had been vaccinated for the first time.

But Dr Okello says the low numbers of people with comorbidities could be a result of many not disclosing their health status for fear of stigma.

“It can’t be true that only four people with comorbidities were vaccinated, many could have been vaccinated but didn’t disclose their status which again would be dangerous for their own health,” he told URN in an interview.

Michael Ogweng, the Kitgum District Senior Probation and Welfare Officer attributes the low turn up of women for vaccination to a number of factors among others misinformation and limited sensitization. He however stressed that reports from within the community indicate that majority of women who are using various family planning methods are afraid to receive the jabs for fear of triggering other health complications.

“You realize that some of these family planning methods especially pills and injectable have some reactions to the women. So these women now fear adding more burden of any side effects to themselves if they get vaccinated,” says Ogweng. He also notes that expectant mothers in the district have a mistrust for the vaccine and have completely shunned it for fear of having miscarriages.

Ogweng has appealed for more sensitization that targets the women to enable them to understand the benefit of the vaccine and who is eligible to receive it.

Jennifer Lalam, a single mother of two and resident of second Jenge village in Central Division, Kitgum Municipality says she hasn’t been vaccinated because of the “bad” side effects of the vaccine that has been widely spoken about. Lalam says there were rumours that the vaccine could make a woman barren while men develop erectile dysfunction.

Among the priority groups that have so far received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the district include 582 health workers, 189 armed forces, and 1,541 teachers while 2,946 are other members of the public. 

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