"In April I went to Mulago, Victoria Hospital and even KCCA Kisenyi hoping to get vaccinated but no place would give me the vaccine. They all said that I was not among those designated to get the vaccine in the first phase of the exercise," he said.
Henry Muwanguzi is a resident of Kiwatule, a Kampala city suburb. He got his COVID-19 jab last week. Muwanguzi is neither a doctor nor
a teacher. He does not suffer from any comorbidity.
He enjoys singing and
exercises four times a week. He is the true definition of a 30-year-old
looking healthy man. Muwanguzi told URN that he looked for a place where he
could get the COVID-19 shot.
"In April I went to Mulago, Victoria Hospital and even KCCA Kisenyi
hoping to get vaccinated but no place would give me the vaccine. They all said
that I was not among those designated to get the vaccine in the first phase of
the exercise," he said.
phase, according to the Health Ministry, targeted persons at high risk of
getting infected with COVID-19. These included
health workers, teachers, and security personnel, persons with co-morbidities
and those aged 50 and above.
According to the health ministry's plan, Muwanguzi would be among the
last groups of people to get vaccinated. However, Muwanguzi fluked and got the
jab when the vaccination team visited DFCU bank where he had gone to visit a
Despite being outside the targeted category, Muwanguzi says that he
decided to get the jab well knowing that it is the only way he could stay safe
from COVID-19 infection.
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According to Muwanguzi, he is not alone. Eight of his family members
have also gotten the jab. But only two of them fit the government's priority
list since they are over 50 years. However, according to the ministry, people
like Muwanguzi are more eager to get the vaccine compared to those in the priority
As of May 27, 2021, over 250,000 people who are not part of the
priority group have so far been vaccinated. The total number of people who have
been vaccinated nationwide stood at 577,036 as of May 27, 2021. Dr Alfred
Driwale, the programme manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization
(UNEPI), says that more people in this group appreciate the vaccine more compared
to the target group.
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Due to the high demand from people in this group, Dr. Driwale says the
health ministry is now offering vaccination to whoever shows up. "We have received requests from some
groups of people who want the vaccine. We have received requests from bankers,
lawyers and even truck drivers," he said.
Also, the health ministry has opened up vaccination to all groups. All
persons interested in jab just need to go to the ministry of health
headquarters to get it. COVID-19
vaccination is associated with a number of side effects who according to the
health ministry has contributed to the poor uptake among the target group.
Some of the associated side effects are; soreness at the injection
site, headache, fever, tiredness, and joint pain in some cases. Muwanguzi says
despite the side effects that he experienced, he would still get the vaccine if
he knew beforehand. He says he counts himself lucky to have gotten the chance
to get vaccinated.
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While people like Muwanguzi were desperate to get the vaccine, many
people in the targeted group like health workers and teachers are still
hesitant. In fear of vaccines getting expired, the health ministry has decided
to withdrawal unused vaccines from districts with low vaccination uptake.
Driwale says this has been done to enable persons who want the vaccine
to get it. "We cannot let vaccines get expired yet there are people in
Kampala and other neighbouring districts that want the vaccine. People in Waksio
are looking for the vaccine," he said.