Jinja City is experiencing an unprecedented low demand for Covid-19 vaccines days to the expiry of 67,000 unused doses, prompting the deputy resident city commissioner [RCC] to rally residents to embrace the exercise.
Mr Peter Banya's plea follows President Museveni, televised address to the nation last week, where he warned that district leaders would be rendered jobless if they fail to exhaust the tens of thousands of vaccines at risk of expiry.
"All resident district commissioners [RDCs], chief administrative officers [CAOs], district health officers [DHOs] must carry out intensive mobilisation for all eligible priority groups to go for vaccination. "They should, in addition, ensure no vaccines are wasted or left to expire. In any district where the vaccines expire, the RDC, CAO and DHO will be dismissed," Mr Museveni said.
Mr Banya told Daily Monitor on Monday that Jinja City has been gripped by a high demand for Covid-19 vaccines, especially from teachers, some of whom have not received the first dose, adding that at least 500,000 doses are needed to meet the target in both the City and Jinja Rural District.
According to Mr Banya, about 9,000 people in Jinja City have been fully vaccinated, 19,000 received the first dose and 30,000 are yet to be vaccinated.
"However, there are no vaccines and if another consignment is to come, Jinja City and Jinja Rural District will need at least 500,000 doses," he said, adding that only 741 teachers have received both doses, while 2,789 have only received the first dose.
To hit the ground running, Mr Banya said there are plans to have mobile clinics in villages and have village health teams [VHTs] to identify an area in the community, other than health centres, to have those who can't travel long distances to be vaccinated.
Mr Charles Toko, a self-employed resident of Jinja City, said he failed to have his parents vaccinated because whenever he attempted to take them to vaccination centres, he was told that the vaccines were for only civil servants.
Mr James Aliwano, a boda boda rider in Mafubira Ward, Jinja North Division, said he also failed to be vaccinated because when he went to Mpumudde and Budondo health centres, he was reportedly told that the vaccines were for government workers.
Mr Norman Atalo, a teacher at St Noa Mawaggali Senior Secondary School in Mbiko, Buikwe District, said he received his first vaccine last month.